OAA Newsletter #2

OAA Provides Support During COVID-19

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We have not let the pandemic slow down our support forums! OAA has continued to hold multiple virtual support forums every week throughout the pandemic. We have general support forums for OAA members via Zoom on Monday, Tuesday and Friday evenings. We also have a family support forum via Zoom on Monday evenings and a youth support forum on Tuesday evenings. Learn more about our support forums and sign up for one today.


Credible Messengers Doing Great Things!

ATL: Summer 2021, we are proud to lead the Southeast credible messenger team for a program in Atlanta aimed at reducing youth violence, mentoring young people for 10 weeks. Our team of formerly incarcerated mentors is working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Georgia’s Northern District. This program is made possible by the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. Law enforcement & formerly incarcerated people can work together for public safety!

BHM: In June, OAA hosted a credible messenger training in partnership with UAB’s Department of Criminal Justice. We certified 15 new credible messengers to help in our efforts. Special thanks to UAB’s Jeffrey Walker, Ph.D. for partnering with OAA for this amazing training event.


OAA Sponsors Community Care Day

Sunday, June 13, OAA partnered with several organizations to sponsor a day of caring for residents of Birmingham’s Tom Brown Village Public Housing Community. OAA led volunteers in litter cleanup, distribution of food boxes and care packages. Participants included members of OAA’s youth initiative called “Heroes in the Hood,” a network of justice-involved youth who are paired with mentors for positive development and community activities.

“Part of OAA’s mission is to empower former offenders to actively engage in reducing crime and restoring communities that have suffered harm,” said OAA founder and Executive Director Deborah Daniels. “We are proud to be part of the solution.”

A special thanks to United Way of Central Alabama, Birmingham’s Jewish Community Relations Council, Birmingham’s Housing Authority, Credible Messengers and the Mountain Brook Reparations Fund.


Shout Out to Ladies at Birmingham Work Release

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We haven’t been able to hold our support groups for the women inside Birmingham Work Release, but we did send chocolates & cards for Valentine’s Day. Great to see their smiling faces! We love you, ladies.


OAA Spotlight: Ladji Ruffin, Project Manager in Georgia

Q: How does your position serve directly impacted people?

I am the facilitator of a group called ACES, which stands for Adults Committed to Empowerment and Success. I track and offer support to 40 men released after being in the program. I oversee three support groups in Georgia, including a family engagement group every Monday, a youth support group every Tuesday, and a group open to everyone on Fridays, which is our largest group.

I build relationships with many community partners here in the State of Georgia. I have a strong relationship with the Parole Board and Georgia Department of Corrections.

Q: Why did you want to get involved with OAA?

I did 23 years in prison and have been out now almost 5 years. Most guys come out of prison and they are not prepared. They need assistance. OAA is the first organization run from top to bottom by people who have lived experience with the criminal justice system. I took a trip to Alabama to see how they run their organization and was very impressed and wanted to help uplift OAA in Georgia.

Q: Why should people support OAA?

OAA is the boots on the ground. We deal directly with people that have been impacted by the criminal justice system. Having that access, we are able to positively impact many people who are vulnerable to going back to prison. We help heal families and communities. OAA is there to offer direct support from a place of understanding because we have all been there.

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