Back to Work II’s (BTW2) is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, community-based organization. It was founded with a mission to provide a holistic advocacy, vocational mentoring, and skill development for job placement and creation service inside and outside of the classroom, courtroom, and workplace for disadvantaged youth and their caregivers. Most of these citizens are either entangled in low performing schools, justice and or the welfare systems, and need this support system to help reduce the overall number of citizens who are arrested or incarcerated in Harris county by empowering them to help themselves, particularly those families within Harris county distressed communities. BTW2 devotes energies advocating developing pathways allowing disadvantaged citizens to gain educational attainment, record sealing / expunge, in-demand employable skills, employment opportunities and qualify for the Historically Underutilized Business Opportunity Program (HUB) and become competitive contributors in this 21st Century system economy. BTW2 members have also been providing non-denominational concepts within various jail and prison ministries.
Data indicates that youth participating in after school and summer programs enter them with multiple risk factors, including: neighborhood/community (economically poor, criminal subculture); peer (associating with deviant peers, poor relationship skills, low association with pro-social peers); family (single parent households, parental difficulties, e.g. drug abuse, ineffective discipline and supervision, lack of family support); school (poor academic performance, disciplinary problems); and individual (poor problem solving skills, alcohol and other drug abuse. Having a meaningful job decreases their likelihood of dropping out of school and or resorting to criminal activities. Research suggests that mentoring special populations requires an array of services to meet their needs.
Since its founding, BTW2 has grown from 1 program providing community and school-based intervention, diversion and prevention services to youth and adults in South Union, Sunny Side and South Park communities to several programs, administrated by an all voluntary staff of concerned citizens. In 2015, a Census tract in Sunnyside was ranked the 2nd most dangerous neighborhood in the country, according to Neighborhood Scout crime statistics. Sunnyside, which is home to Worthing & Attucks Schools, is one of 10 neighborhoods in Houston that together accounted for 15 percent of the city’s population yet received half of the 6,283 Prisoners released to Houston in 2005. African Americans percentages in Sunnyside is 25,550 at 91%.
In 2001, BTW2 received a 21st Century Grant to mentor disadvantaged youth and families at Attucks which had the most arrests in the district, in the county that imprisons the most kids in the state. The project utilized a knowledge-based concept that addressed evolving needs of employers and the essential skill development needed to compete in the evolving workforce of ESTREAM (Entrepreneurial Science Technology Reading Engineering Art Math) careers.
Since then, BTW2 has begun establishing itself as a leading advocate for juvenile justice and foster care reform through several unique programs and partnerships. In 2013, one such program a Coderdojo, initially focused on empowering disadvantaged youth with financial literacy, language arts and computer and soft skill development within the Houston Public Library System before beginning to mentor youth and adults in bridging gaps in tech entrepreneurship by providing hands-on business, computer science and green construction skills. Coderdojo is now a comprehensive, multi-component program consisting of mentoring, abstinence education, delinquency prevention, as well as alcohol, tobacco, and another drug prevention.
Technology shapes our environment and is fundamental to our future. Meeting the need to providing technology education and pave a path for social and economic stability CODE⊃3;; for Humanity and Empowerment Project (CODE⊃3;) is being launched as an intervention and diversion and prevention program with a supportive Longitudinal Quasi Experiment research and evaluation component to help fill mentoring research gaps regarding effectiveness with at-risk youth and their contribution to improvement-required schools. By launching CODE⊃3;; into Improvement Required Campuses (IR) and existing community-based programs, BTW2 seeks to reduce juvenile delinquency and improve life outcomes for economically and socially disadvantaged youth, their caregivers and other citizens through providing legal, vocational mentoring, and salaried, on-the-job-training and other social support services to help increase social economic development, grow an in-demand workforce, contribute to the start-up ecosystem and help transform at-risk and delinquent youth and others into skilled employees, innovative employers and contributing citizens for safer communities.
It will embed vocational mentoring into existing programs offering evidence-based programming for disadvantaged, at-risk and court involved youth and their caregivers in grades 8 – 14 to enhance skills development for social economic stability. CODE⊃3;; embeds a Strategic Intervention, Diversion and Prevention program into an after, in and out of school workforce development and discipline initiative focused on disrupting the prison pipeline by providing services for proceedings, in juvenile and criminal justice systems for disciplinary infractions.
CODE⊃3; will design, develop, manage and employ a student-run “Help Desk” modeled after Apple’s Genius Bar, within schools’ and community organizations providing access to state-of-the-art for participants. In doing so it expands the frame work of a DOL Registered Information Technology Generalist and School Apprenticeship through Harris County Diversion Program, Houston Summer Jobs Program, and Houston ISD Summer Student Leadership Program further providing occupational awareness, skills development and job creation that will exist interdependently with mentoring and support skill attainment.
CODE3’s ability to collaborate with the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act, County, City, School District, Anchor Institutions and community-based service providers offering best practices to incorporate technology integration and offer an array of effective preventive treatment interventions within IR campuses removing barriers and decreases disproportionate black and brown court-involved and other at-risk juveniles’ delinquency is integral to its implementation. Some of those partnerships are with Prairie View A & M University College of Juvenile Justice and Psychology which helps ensure that BTW2 is supported by providing program evaluation, mentors and researching and developing effective models of behavior change mitigating risk of repeated delinquency and overall development. Another partnership with UH Juvenile & Capital Advocacy Project which also provides mentors and refers participants in addition to record sealing / expungement qualifying for services.
Currently BTW2 is seeking your support to help us develop a Texas Workforce Solutions approved Work Station, mentoring center and office building, located at 3601 Lydia. This will allow us to be able to continue providing our services when the library is not available. With this move the organization is looking to a bright new future. There are three ways businesses or individuals can help: provide an on-job training site, sponsor a participant through this crowd fund which will allow participants to work 20 to 30 hours a week and be paid at least $8 an hour or make a tax-deductible donation to Back to Work ll at 6858 Ridgeway Drive, Houston, Texas 77087.