Our guiding principles
To assist those wishing to leave gang life to succeed in reaching their goal by providing a federally approved apprenticeship program, full-time employment and comprehensive services that address their physical, mental, emotional, educational and spiritual needs.
A key factor that drives youth to gang involvement is a need/desire to belong, for kinship, for community. Those leaving incarceration need a supportive community. Many times the only community they have is a community that supports continued gang involvement. The RUI Reentry Program is staffed with employees and volunteers who foremost understand, create and provide an environment that is all accepting and genuinely interested in the individual.
Those entering our Reentry Program are actively involved in programming, job training and employment, 40 hours per week for 18 months. Graduates are encouraged to become lifetime RUI alumni. The long-term commitment is tied to our principle of kinship. Our alumni are family and are welcomed back and encouraged to stay connected. Their continued contributions as employees, volunteers, coaches, mentors, credible messengers, speakers, etc. assist in the long-term sustainability of the program. Their involvement as productive community members, responsible employees, and parents will assist the prevention program by helping to correct the neighborhood conditions that foster gang involvement.
RUI provides interim, full-time paid employment in our Machine Shop Social Enterprise while members work on other assessed needs concurrently. This interim employment provides income, builds their confidence and sense of self worth, provides life skills training, work ethic development, and specific job skill training. Studies have shown that employers are more likely to hire an ex-offender who has been through some job training program with favorable evaluations from their supervisor.
The voluntary spiritual component of our program is considered key, as many ex-offenders and ex-gang members who have successfully turned their lives around have indicated that some conversion/faith experience was instrumental in their change and continued success. RUI is religiously inclusive and has graduated Christian, Buddhist and non-religious members.
The program is comprehensive in order to address the needs of our members. Some of these needs are met by other agencies or non-profits with whom RUI collaborates. The individual’s long-term success requires a community where all the individual’s needs are addressed.
Our program reinforces the value of education. We encourage and assist our members to obtain a high school diploma/GED as a minimum. Additionally, we encourage further education/career training as required to meet their career/employment goals.
RUI collaborates with the District Attorney, police department, parole and probation officers, educational institutions, local businesses, faith communities, related nonprofits and neighborhood volunteers. Gangs negatively impact the entire community, and the solution to the gang situation will require the involvement of the entire community. While our communities are supporting our members, our members give back through community service projects. Our graduates, integrated back into the communities, will be self-supporting through employment with local businesses. Employed, tax paying graduates, prepared to be responsible parents and inspired to help those who follow, will help create an environments where our youth no longer seek gang life to meet their need to belong.