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#OneRouge Friday Community Check-In (Week 60, 61)




Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in EBR, The Walls Project has been hosting weekly video calls with leaders of nonprofits, foundations, city government, and local businesses from a

cross the parish. The intention of these weekly community check-ins is to share information and resources to help the Baton Rouge community respond and recover from the pandemic. Weekly topics range from access to basic needs such as food, medical care, and safety to thought-leaders' insights on equitable opportunities for youth enrichment, nonprofit financial solvency, surge in unemployment, and the disproportionate impact on impoverished neighborhoods in regards to accessing fresh food.


 

'People with Disabilities'

Economic & Workforce Development, Part IV


Lindi Rubin Spalatin (Director of Development, McMains Children’s Developmental Center)

  • Born and raised in BR

  • The center was started 67 years ago by a group of parents and physicians who were not finding the resources they need specifically for kids with cerebral palsy

  • Current location is on College Drive

  • Renamed in honor of Dr. Frank McMains, a pediatric orthopedic who volunteered his services for over thirty years

  • Now service kids regardless of diagnosis and financial situation

  • Offer a wide range of therapies

  • I’m not a specialist or an expert but it’s a core value of mine, with my background in arts, that the only way to find equity and justice is through access to services, to art, to the world around us and that starts for me with kids

  • Example: We have a child who struggles with balance. When you struggle with balance, you can’t carry your lunch plate in the cafeteria. If you can work with a therapist for something simple like this, that type of skill can carry on and help in places like job placement. It sounds small but these are small skills that we take for granted when it comes to us naturally.

  • We’re a Medicaid state - clinical diagnoses are covered but educational therapy is not because it isn’t considered a medical diagnosis although most people who require educational therapy are there because of a diagnosis. If you have a child who has been diagnosed with autism that requires educational therapy that is not covered by Medicaid.

  • One of the main things we do is offer scholarships. Regardless of financial situation, every child deserves to have the therapy services they need to become as independent as possible

  • The difference between tutoring and educational therapy: tutoring deals with academics, educational therapy helps with the tools needed to succeed in an academic or work environment

  • If you aren’t given tools or the knowledge to deal with say sensory deficits , you might be looked upon as a “bad student” when in reality, you’re not a bad student. You have needs that aren’t being addressed by the school. The goal is to give kids, parents, and educators those tools to recognize that “bad students” often don’t have the resources they need in order to succeed. Because of the services cliff that happens between high school and college, a lot of the kids who need that help don’t receive services after high school

  • We offer a program called Capable Play - works with kids with significant and multiple physical disabilities, the kids who may be nonverbal, don’t have full function of their body, the kids who are ignored in the classroom. This program uses adaptive technology to open the world around them. For instance, taking a water pick that you use for your teeth could be used for a child to water plants or do the dishes with a button - maybe they can only move their head, move their feet but now they have access to that technology...The technology is not expensive or complicated.

  • We have a full time social worker and a full time patient care coordinator

  • If McMains can’t help you, we’ll find you the services you need

  • We have a growing wait list

  • We are one of the only clinics in Baton Rouge that does not cap Medicaid, we work with you no matter what

  • Work in 14 parishes and counting so chances are we probably work in your community

Dr. Girard Melancon (Vice Chancellor, BRCC, Program for Successful Employment)

  • Back six years ago there was a paper that came out from BRAF dealing with individuals on the spectrum or with disabilities showing significant need for the young adult, 18-28 year olds, transitioning into independent living

  • Led to the creation of PSE: Program for Successful Employment

  • Takes a lot of love and care - we don’t take more than 12 people per cohort

  • Currently recruiting for Spring 22, Fall 21 is filled

  • 18-28 years of age, read above a fourth grade level, can they express themselves verbally or written, can commit to a two year model, have some kind of family/mentor support

  • First semester go through all day 8 AM - 4 PM schedule

  • Second semester go on an externship - things from working in print shops, radio studios, etc.

  • Have two job developers who visit the students and their supervisors through the whole two years they’re with us (one of whom is thanks to the Wilson Foundation)

  • Housed at the Acadian/Winbourne campus

  • Work closely with vocational rehab to make the program affordable: if you’re a family of 4 making less than $135k/year we can get you a scholarship, really help to make the program affordable

  • Otherwise self paid

  • Looking to make sure the young adult is ready for independent living and not being pushed by family

  • Inclusive program - we do independent work but also try to include them with activities here at BRCC like student government, anything they’re interested in

  • Can go into workforce or credit/audit bearing classes after their two years

* Michael Thomas (Executive Director, My Possibilities) could not be present due to an executive emergency, but please find below information on their offered programming. Mr. Thomas will join us for Part II of the conversation along with members from LATAN.

My Possibilities is a 501(c)(3) for cause organization serving adults with disabilities such as Down Syndrome, Autism, Asperger’s, Prader-Willi, head injuries and more. My Possibilities is the first full-day, full-year educational program of its kind in Collin County.

My Possibilities is designed to provide people with cognitive disabilities the chance to continue their education. We provide vocational skills, socialization opportunities, trade skills, and independent living skills to HIPsters that give them the chance to live the life they deserve. https://mypossibilities.org/about/

Casey Phillips (The Walls Project): The heart that Mike has for the work is palatable. They don’t claim to be the only people to do this in the entire world but what they have created in Dallas as a non profit, not only did I want to bring that to this conversation to make you aware of what they’re doing but also wanted all the non-profit leaders and board members on this call to really dig into their annual report and understand how small of a game sometimes we’re all playing. This organization was started in 2006 by three moms. Once people turn 18, in a lot of ways in our society, it’s “You’re on your own.” And when you have our brothers and sisters with disabilities, that’s unacceptable. If you have people in your family that do require that level of care, you understand that lifelong journey and that finding those resources is very difficult. But look at this organization today - they are building a massive campus right of the George Bush Turnpike for citizens with disabilities but they’re also bringing in national and global retailers to build into the Live/Work/Play space that is going to employ all of these people getting the training and education to have short and long term employment where they live. If you’re sitting as a board member listening to your Executive Director explain a big idea...don’t say 'No' to dreams. Sit with the idea and realize what is possible. With My Possibilities something that started small in 2006 has grown into a multimillion dollar for cause model that is 100% self sustaining. Be ready to be blown away by the work they're doing.

Coalition Questions and Discussion

Lindi Spalatin: Speaking about workforce development, if you’re in a position of power I would love it if you thought about small things. So, dress codes at a job. What does “professional” mean and who is that excluding? Professional shoes for instance, high heel shoes, can keep someone who struggles with balance out of the workplace culture. What makes someone professional, the clothes or the work? We as a community need to look at the constraints of professionalism and who that excludes. Then it becomes easier to tackle those larger problems. We’re launching a program working with a local organization that’s all about workforce programs for individuals with autism. Again, do you have jobs in your work that you are excluding people from? Those are just some small actionable things. I think sometimes we get so enamored with the big things we can and we don’t look at the small accessible things we as a community can do to stop the gatekeeping in the business world. I would also add, when we talk about physical disabilities and developmental delays and sensory processing, we all have that. If you are somebody who fidgets, who can’t sit still, who has to take a break every 10 or 15 minutes, that’s not a negative. That’s how your body processes information. People with disabilities or developmental delays...that encompass all of us and we can be more sensitive to the reality of what it means to bring individuals into the workplace.

Gerri Hobdy: BREC is planning a fully accessible and universal playground working with LATAN, Capital Area Human Services, McMains, Hope Academy, Families Helping Families, Louisiana School for the Deaf, Louisiana School for the Blind and many others to advise them to make sure we don’t miss anybody. The playground is being designed to offer visual, tactile and cognitive exploratory experiences to meet a range of developmental, mobility, and social needs for individuals with disabilities and their families. A stakeholder meeting is going to be held at the Emerge Center on the 30th from 4-5 PM. Those of you who work in this space, have children or know families with children, come to this meeting if you have the opportunity.

SK Groll: How do our organizations include disabled people as stakeholders in decision making? How are we pushing this conversation beyond “citizenship”, really intentionally caring for all people, including folks who may be undocumented?

Casey Phillips: Yeah, we said “Citizens with disabilities” because I use the word “humans” a lot but yeah...that is exclusionary, thank you for lifting that up.

Girard Melancon: Including people with developmental disabilities...we help them create their own voice. Day one we start talking about self determination, second semester is about self advocacy. We also feel like different families have different resources, experiences...some have attorneys, some don’t...we try to make the overall process not intimidating and supportive throughout.

Manny Patole (Co-City): For Lindi, just wanted to know how your organization also assists with developmental disabilities related to fine and gross motor skills and how they interrelate.

Lindi Spalatin: We offer physical, occupational, speech, educational, and technology therapy...we do a lot here. Please, please contact me! I love giving tours. It puts everything we do in context. Occupational therapy is the fine gross motor skills and physical therapy is the bigger muscles. We have an amazing OT and PT gym. It all relates to what’s the occupation of a child...it’s to be a child. Most of our therapies are game-related fun therapies. It’s giving kids the tools they need to be as independent as they can. We need to give them the tools they need to be successful in their world. Some people think of speech therapy as just speech articulation, but it also means food therapy, addressing problems with swallowing or sensory issues. We service kids from 0-18 but if you come to us, you are part of our family forever. As an example, through a technology grant we were able to get a computer for a former client so he could work from home and access a job he otherwise would not have been able to. Again, children are not bad kids. They aren’t doing things “at” us. They are just kids trying to process the world.

Helena Williams (The Walls Project): I come from a family that has a lot of autism and ADHD. I see my siblings and myself struggle with navigating that realm. One comment I have is really building the community around helping families feel that when there’s something going wrong they can push through doctors. My siblings were very early on trying to get an autism diagnosis for their children. They clearly knew something was wrong at 9 months but doctors wouldn’t say anything from 3-6 years old...that’s a delay in service and getting them the therapy they need to become better functioning humans. My mom is a nurse practitioner and if she wasn’t there to push...I just think about all the children whose parents just gave up. I have a personal story, my son has severe ADHD and he has the worst handwriting. It’s illegible for me, his mother, to read. His doctor says he holds the pencil okay, he has the motor skills, he just can’t focus...well duh. I know what’s going on in his head - he’s done with the sentence before the pencil hits the paper. Getting parents the fire to push through those barriers is very necessary in this community. Another question I had early on, I’m fairly aware of ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis)...I wasn’t quite sure what buckets that falls into but that’s what my autistic nieces and nephews have gone through to build up the skills they need, things like not being able to open a door handle. One last thing, COVID exemplified that working from home is a real possibility. I have a 21 year old severely autistic niece to where she is extremely creative but is not very verbal, has physical problems and social anxiety...but I can see her being a very functional person in a computer space. Having work spaces be accepting and working with those individuals so they don’t get shut out...right now her trajectory looks like being on disability for the rest of her life rather than leading a career. As a family that’s hard to watch. Watching my sister navigate that is hard to watch. If anything, as we grow our coalitions and communities, helping solve these underlying issues that prevent people from even getting past the first steps.

Lindi Spalatin: I want to just say, too, so y’all know - anyone can refer a child here to McMains. You do not need to have a doctor referral to receive our services.

Ann Zanders: I’ve been working with a regional initiative called Career Waves 2. We work with three community colleges - BRCC, Northshore and RPCC and the 14 districts in our region. We did a survey a while back on students with disabilities to see numbers, and there are thousands of students in the 14 parishes that have a designation as a student with a disability. However, the three community colleges serve less than 300 students with disabilities. We were trying to figure out where these students were going, what’s happening. We started talking to teachers at the high schools and the anxiety they have working with the students...Dr. Melancon’s program is very good, but like he said, it’s limited. We have this great pool of students with a lot of talent and faculty are telling us they don’t know how to manage them in their regular classrooms. Career Waves 2 focuses on career and technical education and it is a grant funded program. So we have to stick with CTE as we call it. But we are now looking at working with employers to look at a job and see if it’s a job a student with a disability can do. A lot of times it comes back to the employer. You’ve got to have employers at the table. What we’re finding is that some of your most loyal employees are people with disabilities. Looking at all of the different facets of serving people with disabilities, looking at jobs...another thing we found is that if students are interested in a certain career program, they might not physically be able to do that. Let’s take nursing. Working with our college faculty, they have to skirt a lot of the language to engage people with disabilities in that program. But with all the development in information technology and medical coding, a student with a disability can actually be an entrepreneur and do coding. We’re looking at how we help prepare our high school counselors to have that conversation with a student with a disability so that they acknowledge their interest in a certain program. CW2 is getting ready to start those conversations, but I definitely would like to connect with you Lindi.

Lindi Spalatin: I agree, and one of the things I’m working on with my corporate sponsors is education. They can write us a check and that’s great, but if they don’t fully understand why they’re writing a check, that to me is something in the nonprofit world that I’m very interested in. How do we talk to corporations and say part of your partnership with us is creating spaces for the people that we serve?

Reverend Anderson (PREACH): As usual I want to circle back around to the intersection of our mass incarceration system and the disability community. There are a disproportionate amount of developmentally disabled people who end up in the system and they are categorized differently. We criminalize a lot of the things in the juvenile system. We don’t diagnose, we just call them bad kids and move them on. I want to share something...the coalition partnered on a meeting about what’s going on in the criminal justice system and this was one of the testimonies that was lifted up:

A woman explained that she had to beat on her developmentally disabled son, spit on him, call him racial slurs because she needed to teach him how to not react. She didn’t want the police to shoot him if he ever got stopped. She didn’t know how else to teach him. He is seventeen but has the comprehension of a first grader.

I share that because we constantly interact with families that have adult children who are struggling, who oftentimes have tics, or are nonverbal...they are terrorized in the carceral system and often penalized, put into lockdown and solitary because that behavior is actually treated as confrontational. One of the things Ann talked about that I wanted to lift up is that as long as we continue to put these situations in the wrong basket - not doing testing, not doing diagnostic tests, not eliminating other causes - we can’t help people. I’m very familiar with CW, Families Helping Families, vocational rehab...But one of the challenges that often comes up is that as soon as you put people in the criminal system you also eliminate their ability to get through these other doors. By policy or legislation they sometimes are locked out of even qualifying for services.

Lindi Spalatin: I would add one of the goals we have is to try to get into classrooms to help teachers recognize that behavior is not bad. When a child is said to be lazy...maybe there’s a sensory issue happening. We can see the pipeline of when a kid is labelled bad, when that narrative follows them and they get pulled into a system. We want to help educators recognize “bad behavior” vs something happening with a child that just needs to be addressed differently.

Casey Phillips: What does LSU and SU do for this population on your campuses? Are you aware of any programs?

Brandon Smith (LSU): The first two things that come to mind are the things we’re doing with the Emerge Center, the College of Human Sciences and Education, Early Childhood Education, and we have the Office of Disability Services removing the stigma, encouraging students to self report. Something as simple as getting the students to register with the office...it’s amazing to see the number of students who arrive at college and don’t realize it’s okay to have a learning disability or any other type of disability. Ann Zanders: Unite Louisiana really focuses on health resources for mental health all on one platform. They do work with reentry organizations, they're reaching out to academic organizations...we're trying to provide educational resources to help students succeed, recruit for community colleges, but we also understand that all of students may have some personal challenge whether it be learning, physical, or mental disabilities. Unite Louisiana does a really good job putting resources on that one platform.

Casey Phillips: What I’ve taken away from the last 61 weeks, society, we, are okay with throwing away certain segments of people. We need to broaden our reach and work arm and arm together. From last Friday’s call...it really did something to me. The At-Risk Youth discussion with Aishala, Ms. Boatner and Roxson igniting a fire of determined resolve in my highest heart space. We all felt it on the call and thought about it all day. Laster that night a 18 year old killed a few blocks from my house on Balis Drive. My wife and I heard him shot to death before drifting to sleep. Say his name, Cornell McDuffy. 18 years old. We’re not doing enough. This topic right here...everybody on this call, if you have the bandwidth and the energy, reach out to Lindi, Girard, and Ann. Do one thing. We’re going to move to action beyond the dialogue. It’s just not acceptable. We have the resources and the ability to help. No accusations...it’s heavy and I just want to continue to challenge myself and all of you together to do more.

Rachelle Sanderson: Imagine Mutual Aid (New Orleans) on Facebook is a collaborative mutual aid group where people can post specific needs for the community address (bringing over food, ordering Uber Eats, etc). They also have a group for the Bayou Parishes and SW LA as well. Imagine Water Works hosts this.

Rinaldi Jacobs (Scotlandville CDC): Just wanted to announce that the Juneteenth activities that were going to happen downtown have been POSTPONED due to the weather.

Reverend Anderson: I am super thrilled about Juneteenth being a federal holiday. But when I came to Louisiana so many years ago, I didn’t want to be here. That would be the understatement of the year. And Sadie Roberts-Joseph and the Odell S. Williams Museum was one of the places I came first, and visited, and took my children. Sadie was a force of nature. She was neighborly. She made that visit the most magical experience. From the day I met her until the day she transitioned to Heaven...literally, Juneteenth and her life and her spirit have been on par for me for over 25 years. She didn’t just make Juneteenth incredible in the African American community. She invited everybody. From the Governor, to the Mayors, the Metro Council, people all over the country. She invited everybody to understand the majesty and the magic, of Juneteenth being a continuum in the American story. I’ve had friends and neighbors that are not African Americans who said, “Please don’t think I’m stupid, but I don’t understand what this is about.” I want to encourage people one to remember Sadie Roberts-Joseph and the role she played in building this community into more of a One Rouge than almost anybody that I can think of. But also the recognition that Juneteenth is about the continuum of the American story. It is about expanding the Founders’ vision but very limited implementation. At the end of the day when we call it Freedom Day, that’s exactly what it is. It’s about the expansion of not just the franchise and citizenship but the American experience and the American experiment. Even though a lot of things are going to be cancelled with the weather, I really, really want to encourage everybody to take a moment and learn what the holiday is. Go to some of these events. Learn about the Voting Rights Act. Learn about We the People. Learn about why we’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of women having the franchise because they’re all interconnected. I just wanted to share that because...I love Juneteenth and it’s always a great holiday but I also know that there was a woman who stood next to the President when he signed that bill and there was a woman in Louisiana who wasn’t there. Who, had she lived, would have been in that room. I don’t want Louisiana, particularly Baton Rouge, to not honor that legacy.

I also want to announce, on Monday the Louisiana Public Defender’s Board selected a new Chief Public Defender for the 19th JDC, that’s East Baton Rouge Parish. What many people don’t realize is that while we elect a DA, we do not elect the Chief Public Defender. That role literally represents more human beings in this parish than any private defense attorney in the entire parish. I invite people if you’d like to know, her name is Lisa Park out of St. John the Baptist Parish, we did a community forum last Sunday which is on the EBRPPRC Facebook page. That role and that individual will be crucial in how criminal justice moves forward in the state. Mike Mitchell did that job for many years very honorably, but I think in the middle of a pandemic that transition didn’t get noticed.

Last, the EBR Parish Reform Coalition will be doing its monthly Caravan for Justice honoring Juneteenth also partnering with the Bail Project on a Juneteenth Father’s Day bail out. So if you are so inclined and the weather allows you can go up to the overpass by the Juvenile Justice Center at 9 AM to participate.


Zoom Chat


08:32:25 From Walls Project to Everyone : https://www.thewallsproject.org/onerouge

08:33:49 From Walls Project to Everyone : Also sign up for our FORUM! https://www.thewallsproject.org/forum

08:37:22 From Rachelle "Ray-chel" Sanderson (she/her) to Everyone : You're doing great, Lindi!

08:39:16 From Walls Project to Everyone : Is Educational therapy similar to ABA?

08:39:38 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Q: how do these therapies relate to fine/gross motor skills?

08:40:08 From Verna Bradley-Jackson to Everyone : Wow, good to know, good info.

08:43:12 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : If you work in this space to provide services or products to Citizens w/ Disabilities please ping me in the chat to speak after our featured speakers.

08:48:13 From Manny Patole to Everyone : HAWF FTW EBR!

08:49:05 From Edy Addison- CAUW to Everyone : Can you link the program application? Thank you!

08:50:29 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : My Possibilities is a 501(c)(3) for cause organization serving adults with disabilities such as Down Syndrome, Autism, Asperger’s, Prader-Willi, head injuries and more. My Possibilities is the first full-day, full-year educational program of its kind in Collin County.

My Possibilities is designed to provide people with cognitive disabilities the chance to continue their education. We provide vocational skills, socialization opportunities, trade skills, and independent living skills to HIPsters that give them the chance to live the life they deserve. https://mypossibilities.org/about/

08:51:09 From Girard Melancon to Everyone : Application Link:

08:52:11 From Ann Zanders to Everyone : LOFSA has a resource called La ABLE for students with disabilities you can access it by going to their website

08:54:06 From Girard Melancon to Everyone : Please feel free to call Johnny Manela PSE Director at 225 359-9205 or email manelaj@mybrcc.edu Application Deadlines Spring 2022 October 1 , 2021

08:56:40 From SK Groll to Everyone : So glad that we are having this conversation centered around disability, and grateful to the speakers who shared their work and perspective with us- thank you Lindi and Girard! 1st Q: how do our orgs include disabled people as stakeholders in decision making? 2nd Q: how are we pushing this convo beyond “citizenship” (really intentionally caring for all people, including folks who may be undocumented)?

08:57:24 From Verna Bradley-Jackson to Everyone : Great job Casey.

08:57:52 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Professional Hair as well as attire

08:58:13 From Jen Tewell (she/her) to Everyone : Hey all - I wanted to share this and invite y'all to share widely. This is a link to the dropbox folder to the full documentary (description below - I will be adding trainings that go more into trauma resolution etc.): https://www.dropbox.com/sh/8yfj5qdsvqiqilz/AA THE WISDOM OF TRAUMA - FEATURING DR. GABOR MATÉ

Trauma is the invisible force that shapes our lives. It shapes the way we live, the way we love and the way we make sense of the world. It is the root of our deepest wounds. Dr. Maté gives us a new vision: a trauma-informed society in which parents, teachers, physicians, policy-makers and legal personnel are not concerned with fixing behaviors, making diagnoses, suppressing symptoms and judging, but seek instead to understand the sources from which troubling behaviors and diseases spring in the wounded human soul.

* With this film, we hope to touch many people, begin a conversation, and develop a common understanding about how trauma impacts our individual lives, communities and society as a whole.*

08:59:40 From Jen Tewell (she/her) to Everyone : YES

09:00:40 From Walls Project to Everyone : Working from home also opens more options for differently abled who normally avoid or have a hard time being in an office

09:00:57 From SK Groll to Everyone : Thank you Lindi for everything you are saying!!!! Also yes to Manny for bringing up the convo around professional hair!

09:02:45 From Morgan Miller-Udoh to Everyone : Where will the playground be located and will this be tester to expanding access at all BREC playgrounds?

09:03:01 From Lindi Rubin Spalatin to Everyone : There is survey for interested parties: https://survey.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_djxEPaLNXzVeIOW

09:03:51 From Lindi Rubin Spalatin to Everyone : And here is an example of what an inclusive playground can look like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85u4RKwY1Hw

09:06:34 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone : The tour is amazing!!

09:06:52 From Karla King - concerned citizen to Everyone : Lindi, Thx - great point on professional dressing. Humans categorize a person within about 30 seconds upon first seeing them. Local universities with fashion courses can offer up information for assisting and building a program to assist with career dressing. Also, so much information online for such - getting ideas from those affected is most important as you witness daily at McMains.

09:07:39 From Ann Zanders to Everyone : Lindi please put contact info in chat:-)

09:08:41 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : What ages does the Center serve?

09:08:55 From Jen Tewell (she/her) to Everyone : Yes to everything you've said.

09:09:29 From Gerri Hobdy to Everyone : The Louisiana Division of the Arts Goals will focus on developing an Accessibility state plan for the arts. This usually shows up in arts guidelines for state public funding. Danny Belanger MPA is the LDOA Director of Arts Education and Accessibility. You can reach him at dbelanger@crt.la.gov.

09:09:31 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : How many children do you serve annually?

09:09:37 From Lindi Rubin Spalatin to Everyone : Lspalatin@mcmainscdc.org

09:10:15 From Terri Williams to Everyone : Thank you. Glad to be here.

09:10:52 From Lindi Rubin Spalatin to Everyone : Hi Rev. Anderson. We are working on getting final numbers for 202 but in 2019 we worked with over 600 kids and offered over 15,000 therapies in the year. This is on top of the family programs we offer outside the clinic

09:13:59 From Reginald Brown to Everyone : Sorry I missed some of call, if not discussed, here is a resource - http://www.fhfgbr.org/ - Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge - a non-profit, family directed resource center for individuals with disabilities and their families. It is a place where families can go that is directed and staffed by parents or family members of children with disabilities or adults with disabilities.

09:15:05 From Girard Melancon to Everyone : Rev Anderson, we serve around 22 students per year. Most four-year schools enroll about 4-8 students per year in their PSE programs.

09:15:17 From Jen Tewell (she/her) to Everyone : Thank you for sharing, I'm a mom of a kiddo with a lot of what you've shared. <3 I see you and your family is lucky to have you advocating for them.

09:19:40 From Esperanza Zenon to Everyone : I raise the employer question many times too. Where they at?

09:19:59 From Jen Tewell (she/her) to Everyone : Hey y'all - I have to head off for now. Thank you for this. This group is my favorite part of the week!

09:21:05 From Zoë - Walls Project (she/her) to Everyone : Yes Lindi!!

09:21:34 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone :

09:21:47 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Language Other Than English*

09:23:37 From SK Groll to Everyone : Thank you Rev. Anderson!!!

09:24:20 From Lindi Rubin Spalatin to Everyone : A number: the CDC says 1 in 6 kids will be diagnosed with a developmental delay. We have to assume that the number is higher as not everyone will be diagnosed and not all delays can be diagnosed.

09:25:28 From Gerri Hobdy to Everyone : BREC is constructing a fully accessible, universal playground for people of all ages and abilities. The first stakeholder meeting will be held on June 30th from 4:00 - 5:00 pm at the Emerge Center on Innovation Park Drive. More information will be shared with Casey to distribute.

09:26:58 From Ann Zanders to Everyone : College cannot serve this population if they don't self-identify! We need to help the high school students to know that it is ok to self-identify so that they can access the resources that will help them succeed.

09:30:16 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : I hope we won't lose the lessons of inclusiveness that virtual employment created during the pandemic.

09:31:25 From Morgan Miller-Udoh to Everyone : Agreed. A lot of accommodations were provided to the general public that were stated as being impossible” to implement prior. We now know that it is and we cannot go back.

09:33:08 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : Yes

09:33:24 From Melissa Silva to Everyone : i also am aware that there is a student group working with nd for other students with disabilities on the LSU campus.

09:33:50 From Walls Project to Everyone : I have to constantly remind my son that he is not broken, it’s the expectations that are

09:34:07 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : Maybe we can look at creating systems were diagnostic testing is available at both the grade school, middle school and high school level would assist this process.

09:34:22 From Monica Guient to Everyone : There is also a lack of knowledge of the difference of the K12 process and Higher Ed. process of gaining accomodations.

09:34:23 From Patrick Tuck 4-H to Everyone : I agree with @Brandon on this point. I found LSU to be visionary on this front, even preceding federal regulations on accommodating for "invisible" disabilities.

09:34:31 From Leslie Gilliland to Everyone : https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/eligibility/requirements/intellectual-disabilities also good information for families to understand

09:35:54 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : Agreed. I think the pandemic showed that a lot of people had undiagnosed disabilities.

09:36:23 From Donald Andrews to Everyone : Yes Southern University has an office of Disability Services that assists students with these issues.

09:36:57 From Morgan Miller-Udoh to Everyone : If diagnostic testing were expanded in the same way that hearing/sight testing is now standard in elementary school that could assist in diagnosing many children who are falling “into the crack” of the school to prison pipeline.

09:37:35 From Girard Melancon to Everyone : Good point Morgan!

09:39:11 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : No we are not!

09:39:36 From Rachelle "Ray-chel" Sanderson (she/her) to Everyone : Cornell McDuffy, Alton Sterling, Ronald Greene - say their names

09:40:01 From Girard Melancon to Everyone : My Email is melancong@mybrcc.edu or text me at 225-907-3887 cell

09:40:06 From Ann Zanders to Everyone : zandersa@mybrcc.edu if you want to know more about Career Waves 2:-)

09:40:27 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Also, lets celebrate the SCOTUS/ACA win (7-2!)

09:41:13 From Kelli Rogers to Everyone : Thanks, Casey!

09:41:21 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : We love your heart

09:42:00 From Verna Bradley-Jackson to Everyone : What age?

09:43:59 From Melissa Silva to Everyone : Anyone can contact CAUW 211 for available resources

09:44:02 From Morgan Miller-Udoh to Everyone : Very interested in that.

09:44:03 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : That would be wonderful!

09:44:04 From Rachelle "Ray-chel" Sanderson (she/her) to Everyone : Imagine Mutual Aid (New Orleans) on Facebook is a collaborative mutual aid group where people can post items like that. It is NOLA-focused and they also have a group for the Bayou Parishes and SW LA as well. Imagine Water Works is who hosts this.

09:44:05 From SK Groll to Everyone : Thanks for bringing that up Rachelle! That would be amazing to see here in BR

09:47:25 From Alexis Phillips (she/her) to Everyone : Rest in Power

09:49:21 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : Before the rains come go take your picture with Sadie at her mural by artist Kristen Downing on the corner of Plank Rd / Fairfield

09:49:46 From Brandon M Smith to Everyone : amen! Ms Sadie was/is an incredible spirit

09:49:49 From Rachelle "Ray-chel" Sanderson (she/her) to Everyone : hear, hear!

09:50:13 From Girard Melancon to Everyone : Amen! Sadie Roberts Joseph-A Real Warrior

09:50:17 From Zoë - Walls Project (she/her) to Everyone : Thank you for lifting that up Rev Anderson!

09:50:18 From Morgan Miller-Udoh to Everyone : Thank you for reminding us.

09:53:16 From Melissa Silva to Everyone : Thank you for such wonderful conversation. I will see everyone next week.

09:53:34 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : Happy Juneteenth Everyone!

09:53:46 From Karla King - concerned citizen to Everyone : Thank you again for this inspiring meeting today.


 

'At-Risk Youth Pathways & Services'

Meeting Notes Prepared by Zoë Haddad (Walls Project)

Roxson Welch (Executive Director, FYSC)

  • Family Youth Service Center has so many partners on site and across the city growing on a regular basis:

  • Justice Center deals with all areas of domestic violence including counseling for children

  • If you talk to a kid and ask them who is it they don’t want to disappoint and find out who it is, you can work with that child - there’s somebody they’re looking up to

  • If there’s no one - you know there’s a serious problem

  • In Baton Rouge we have a large number of children impacted through violent crime

  • Project Impact is hands-on intensive assistance with families and children through social workers. They get referred by schools, law enforcement, neighbors, etc. If they are interested, the whole world wraps around them at that point. Provides critical one-on-one tutoring, community outreach officers do welfare checks, give the children and families whatever they need - beds, anything they need to stay stable.

Tekoah B. Boatner HS-BCP (Executive Director, Youth Oasis)

  • Been around since 1998, then known as the BR Alliance for Transitional Living now Youth Oasis

  • Joined in 2017 with the goal of focusing on our mission and impact on the city

  • As of now full spectrum youth services agency

  • Serve ages 16+, “transition aging” - aging through different phases, primarily exiting foster care or stepping down from secure care with the Office of Juvenile Justice

  • This year we expanded services to the 18-24 population to provide extra support

  • Majority of our population has had instability, trauma...need lots of time to build that village

  • Consistency breeds trust - lacking consistency leads to lack of trust

  • Most of our kids come through the school system, the best place for intervention

  • Our main priority is to give kids as many chances to fail and not be labeled as outcasts because of that failure - what happened before they came to us has no bearing on how we treat them. Our people here are very skilled in Trauma Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) and other positive youth development frameworks

  • Everyone else has decided who these kids are and we want the kids to decide who they are, to give them the time and help to do that

  • 18-24 services consist of emergency shelter, transitional housing, drop in center, rapid rehousing, parenting and trafficking in the fall

  • My biggest ask to the BR community is to look through the cracks - look for the kids who are not A students, not “Exceeding despite...” - that’s a well of potential, of citizens we’re ignoring. The kids we ignore sit like a dormant virus and pop up based on triggers - our goal is to diminish those triggers. Look for those kids and understand that all adult services are youth services. There’s a difference between offering services to kids underage and offering specifically tailored services to youth. You are dealing with a developing brain, which is a privileged position to be in and should be handled with care. Most of the ills we are working to address start with family dynamics and healthy relationships.

  • If the children are not okay, Baton Rouge is not okay.

Aishala Burgess (Executive Director, TRUCE)

  • Help people ages 14-24 that may be involved in groups or gangs in our city, may be on probation or parole, or may have dropped out of school and are interested in finding a way back to a successful life

  • We have two full time social workers who work directly with each client

  • Make sure they receive any referrals for mental health and substance abuse treatment, make sure there’s an educational plan, Uber them to and from any medical appointments to remove the transportation barrier, pay for anything the child may need (TWIC cards, books, drivers license, OSHA certifications, so on)

  • Serve not only the child but the entire family

  • Pre-COVID we were in neighborhoods plagued by violence every month - went directly to the community and asked how we could help instead of assuming what the residents may need, instead of waiting for them to come to us

  • “Beat the Heat” was our weekly summer program where we would break up hot spots of violence where they popped up

  • “Hoop Fest” closed out the summer, which will be back as soon as we can safely bring it back. Law enforcement served as referees and coaches for kids without coaches which was another opportunity letting kids see them in a different light

  • The non profit board members consist of government, business owners, faith based in the community

  • The community picked our name, our kids picked our colors (charcoal grey and lime green)

  • Our goal is to reach the kids who are violent kids, those likely to kill or be killed

  • Receive referrals from the court system, schools, neighborhoods, parents reaching out for intervention

  • Also go to the Department of Corrections to see who’s returning to Baton Rouge and what we can do to keep them from returning to prison

  • Goal is to keep our kids safe, free, and alive

  • We have call ins and we offer them services and a way out, we beg them to put down their guns

  • The kids hear from law enforcement, mothers that have lost their kids

  • Everything we offer is free - we just want them to leave that life alone

  • If we hear of any feuds we have Custom Notifications where we go to the home, school to prevent shootings - we plead with them to let law enforcement handle this for you

  • Try to go through as many shootings with law enforcement as we can to see if there’s a way we can intervene

  • Tara High was one of our schools where we did One Lunch Wednesday - a voluntary mentoring series with kids mostly on the verge of dropping out, in the criminal justice system - 7 of the 15 graduated. We provided speakers, asked them what their needs and interests were. For instance, took them to see the Saints play in Dallas a few years ago

  • They receive a lot of love and hope from us

  • The crime rate is high right now - we would love as we get ready to kick off the summer and fall for our community members to get involved. If you want to get involved with Custom Notifications, reach out. We are on pace to be on our worst year as it relates to homicide and non-fatal shootings. Our kids need us more than ever. This is a time for collaboration so we can save our kids. If you’re a business owner, open your doors and give these kids a second chance with gainful employment, the opportunity to do better.

Roxson Welch: Baton Rouge as a whole is amazing. When I ask for something for the kids and families, I get it. But what we have to understand is every single act and moment we have is a chance to change the day of a person. Kindness matters. People forget how to be kind to children. If I could change one thing it would be for people to treat children - and each other - with kindness. We all have struggles and kids have struggles we can’t even imagine. The struggles I had so many years ago, we didn’t have the same kinds of things...now the problems are so much bigger than just smoking cigarettes. Every chance you get to create a relationship with a child just by being kind matters. Tekoah Boatner: I was going to talk about some of the other things we do as an agency because part of our way of working with kids is to focus on our staff. It’s my mission to make sure that everybody here is paid a living wage including my direct care workers. You’re asking people - many of our employees are former foster youth - to sit with someone in a vulnerable state and not have their own needs at the top of their mind. I want to echo what Roxson said and talk about the kids again, reminding everyone that over time as we become adults we forget a lot. We forget that fear, hurt, and anger all manifest as different behaviors. We learn to treat people based on their behavior and not our shared humanity. Our kids get the brunt of that. Keep that top of mind that what you’re seeing is hurt people, hurt children. We need to have more safe spaces so that we can wrap that hurt in security and comfort and community so they feel confident and trust that they can rejoin the community. If there is nothing in the community for them, there’s no reason to participate in it. Every interaction is an opportunity to change someone’s perspective of their environment.


Coalition Questions and Discussion

Casey Phillips (The Walls Project): A few questions from the chat...What are the ages of youth in TRUCE? How many do you serve? What is the staffing pattern like? What are the gaps in your service that other people can step in to offer?

Aishala Burgess: Our main focus is ages 14-24 but we’re learning a lot of our 13 year olds are doing the same things our high school students are involved in. We don’t turn anyone away. Our gaps - there are many. We have two social workers that work with each of our clients. I try to top their caseloads generally at 35 kids at one time. We would not be able to be effective if each social worker had more than that especially when dealing with the more high risk kids. There’s a major gap when it comes to the needs of our parents. Once you start removing layers of trauma in that family, the parents are experiencing a lot of the same things. We have parents with multiple children that we’re expecting to do multiple things, working hourly wages and can’t keep up. We label them as disconnected but they are connected - they’re weighing taking care of their families. There’s not a lot of mental health services for our younger kids. I receive emails all the time asking about 8-10 year olds. We’re seeing violent crime in elementary schools. It’s becoming younger and younger and we need a lot of people to intervene. Another major gap is connection - any connection we can get to provide our felons with gainful employment that will sustain a family, offer them health benefits. Another thing, when I was going to school I didn't have to pass a dead body. I’m on homicide scenes and I see kids going to school, getting on the bus and passing a dead body. I see high school students staying home to take care of their younger siblings, gaining a truant record. We keep adding layers and barriers when we should be finding ways to collectively remove those. Some parental services we can send our moms, dads, and parents to after work hours...a lot of the sessions to successfully complete work hours are during work hours. If there’s someone offering parental classes or support that’s flexible with hours please send me a message.

Casey Phillips: School buildings should be open from 6 AM to 9 PM, 12 midnight. There should be after school programs, parent classes...our schools should become community centers again. We’ve got to push to change the rules around the use of these taxpayer built schools into community hubs. The mental health and trauma side...Reverend Anderson mentioned our city is living in a perpetual state of trauma. On the last Friday of this month we’ll be discussing intergenerational health services. I’m going to flip it over to Dean Andrews from the College of Business at Southern asked what kind of data you’re keeping and is it available to analyze?

Aishala Burgess: Yes please! That could help with grant opportunities in the future. We are in the process of revamping our database thanks to a great donor allowing us to upgrade and to make it easier to share and extract data but we would love any type of partnership we can get to expand and to grow.

Casey Phillips: Pam, did you maybe want to talk about what you put into the chat? A lot of people resonated with it and it leads into Esperanza’s question...How can we scale these programs to Ascension, WBR? Pam?

Pam Wall: I would just comment from my years working with youth job training programs - JAG is a great program and we don’t have enough JAG programs. I’ve said this before...One of the nation’s biggest problems is that most programs are too brief, too shallow, and we don’t connect with other groups that have different programs that apply to the people we’re trying to help. It’s indicative of the way we fund things. We fund things for a year, maybe two, and you can’t serve the same family for three years of a grant program because you don’t have outcomes to send to the funder. I did read though about a youth program for kids 16+ and discovered that most of the parents were not employed so they took the parents in and offered them the opportunity to participate just like the youth. We fund adult employment training and youth employment training but I don’t know of any that fund them together. So they do intensive training, do a job search, and employ folks. In most cases the relationship between the parent and the youth - most of these were males - improved and allowed them to reinforce what they were learning with each other. Most people here are involved in some way with preparing kids for the future. I’m trying to inspire people to do longer, intergenerational programs. I think funders - the city included - might do some innovation funding to try some of these things that are working in other places.

Reverend Anderson (PREACH): Programs like 4-H, Girl Scouts, all these programs who are youth development programs have huge track records. But, we tend to focus on urban areas when there are very strong issues in the rural parts of our parish. Look at the drug issues - in Zachary and Cheneyville and some of those other areas - they are hiding in plain sight. Those youth also get forgotten. One of my issues is we have schools in every community. We have a vibrant parks and recreation facility. Yet it always feels like we are pushing resources in law enforcement, who are the people least competent to do youth development. Our children live in a trauma induced world. You’re not going to find anyone in Louisiana who is not full of trauma. We’re also not talking about the elephant in the room - I was shocked by the racial breakdown in our juvenile justice system. I love Youth Oasis. But they work with two of the highest risk youths. And one of them is the folks the state is supposed to take care of, which is children aging out of foster care. That speaks volumes to the problem that the children the state is supposed to take responsibility for are more likely to end up in prison than anywhere else. The second group they do a great nurturing job with is our LGBTQ+ community. Again, very at risk children and a lot of our programming won’t address these children until they’re desperate. We have a lot of great partners on this call that do a lot of great work. If we start thinking about taking the ingredients of our gumbo and putting the ingredients where the pot is...and I call the pot the schools. The BREC centers. The community centers that exist in all 12 of the Metro Councils. That’s where I am, that we force the conversation about how we have all these different school districts - but are they all partnered in pre-criminal youth justice development? The same thing with CATS and these other services...how do we get kids where good positive things are happening, and how do we respect the role and the proprietary relationship parents should have?

Rinaldi Jacobs, Sr (Scotlandville CDC): We all agree that education is the passport out of poverty in part. My question...there are a large number of programs that do not require people to go into a whole lot of debt and can have a high school education and still earn middle class wages. For example, truck driving, medical coding, cybersecurity...These are not positions that require you to have even a two year degree. Why isn’t there a focus with our Istrouma graduates, Capitol High, these other schools, directing these kids into these programs that could create middle class wages? Most of them start off at $35-40k a year with only less than say 8-10 weeks of education. To me that seems like a no brainer.

Casey Phillips: I’d like to lift up two points, and I don’t want to speak for any other organization on this call, but as The Walls, the biggest mistake we ever made was with the Futures Fund just being in-school youth for the first six years. The moment we changed to intergenerational and used that word it opened up so much opportunity for so many more people. Second, as intergenerational training, we’re trying to figure this out with EmployBR, BRCC, trying to get through all this paperwork...it’s hard to get people approved because of the way the federal guidelines are written...it’s a cumbersome process. We’re trying to get it so that everyone enrolled in our program goes through EmployBR, gets access to everyone else’s training and gets automatically enrolled in BRCC. They’re automatically able to access these blue collar jobs.

Tekoah Boatner: The minute a kid enters any one of these systems there are barriers to accessing all of these pipelines. When we have a kid who wants to get certified as a welder or go through apprenticeship, because they may have come out of OJJ we can’t get a sponsor because they either don’t know someone or the sponsor isn’t willing to sponsor a kid who just got out. There’s training programs within the schools they go to, however, if they don’t have a certain GPA they can’t participate in these job skill courses. They make it 2.5, but if you are below grade level, this path is closed to you. When all of these pathways are closed it becomes much, much harder. You can’t say that your program is for everyone when any blemish knocks them out. When they get into these systems every single mistake they make gets added on as a blemish. And again, all these pathways are now closed. It’s similar to the thing of “Everyone has the same 24 hours.” I do not. Beyonce has way more hours than me because she has a whole group of people helping her get through life. The tropes we tell ourselves just aren’t the reality for these kids. Let’s take the blinders off and say this is what it is, now let's fix that. Let's stop pretending that our welfare system and our community support system is open to all because it is not.

Kendra Hendricks (CRPC): One of the things I have not heard is that underemployed or nontraditional students sometimes don’t have those options to get the high paying jobs. They’re working minimum wage jobs and they have responsibilities. They have homework, can’t go to training because they have childcare. They’re stuck in that cycle. Maybe we could close that loop to work with childcare, changing the hours for these trainings.

Tyra Banks (MetroMorphosis): I want to echo everything that was just said. There are social, emotional, and biological changes that happen to you when you grow up in high stress and poverty that make it difficult to be as resilient and gritty. One of my little cousins, we call him the most certified drug dealer we ever met because he went to school for everything, but because he got in trouble when he was younger, he had a very difficult time getting these jobs. Where can we become stronger advocates for ban the box, expungement, how can we stand up as a community, what can we be a part of to advocate for changes for example with the Department of Labor’s expectations? How can we advocate so our kids are not so stuck? Also, how do we get 4-H in schools? We all had 4-H at our schools when we were younger. My son doesn’t have 4-H, it wasn’t offered at any of the three schools he has attended.

Alfreda Tillman Bester (Dept. of Children and Family Services): Thank you to everyone who presented. It’s been good information we can use in all the different organizations represented here. One of the things we’re doing at SU Law Center Vulnerable Communities and Peoples Initiative...our focus is on listening to the people who present to us, like with all of you...we have an idea of what is needed but for every person that comes it’s something different. I found myself talking about Maslow’s hierarchy of need...it’s very hard to talk to someone about getting additional training when they are housing insecure and their children are hungry. We want to look at opportunities to give people on the job training and focus there - if they have some income while they’re receiving education and training, they’re more likely to stay in the job and the training. Asking them to choose between their immediate needs - making sure children are housed and fed and that their basic needs are met - they’re going to choose the immediate need. We have to be more deliberate and thoughtful about the way we fund things. It can’t just be “Let’s do a program”. We have to listen to the people who are to be served. It has to be intergenerational. If I’m sending a child back to a volatile situation...we have to deal with the parents. Because if the parent is stressed, the child is stressed.

Sarah Barlow (BRCC): We’ve got a couple things at several of our sites. Listening to the amazing work that’s happening, I’m thinking of opportunities for the people you’re serving to obtain training with us, whether through the credit side or through the workforce solution side, which is the essentials...Students that have come to us seeking adult basic ed or through our JAG program can concurrently enroll in a workforce training in four areas: transportation, IT, healthcare, and skilled crafts. With the money provided under Reboot, they can engage at little to no cost to earn credentials while working on literacy and numeracy and complete their progression toward the high set test. We’re very fixated on barriers. We also have programs that train individuals to get TWIC cards to get into plants. We partnered with Southern Law to help those students. There’s a lot of opportunities that we need to think about barriers in different ways. I heard people say that there’s GPA requirements. Through our Early College Academy MOU we’re removing that GPA barrier. We’re pushing hard with the Board of Regents. I’m happy to talk more about that. We’ve executed 11 Early College Academy agreements with parishes around us. Esperanza Zenon (RPCC): I’m always impressed by the numbers of folks and agencies and opportunities I learn about in this call. I would love to have some of those opportunities in Donaldsonville, but that’s another conversation. I want to say that all the training programs are beautiful but the key thing I see missing are the employers. At the end of the day if employers aren’t open and available all you did was frustrate people more because they did what they needed to do but still can't get a job. I see a lot of folk with degrees and training that can’t get through the door because they don’t know somebody. Especially in these plants and refineries. I’m always amazed at how many community organizations serve our youth but I always say employers need to be at the table because they can change someone's life just by being open to hiring them. Casey Phillips: We’re working with some partners in Dallas around some legislation around corporate tax rebates around hiring underemployed populations to incentivize. We have got to figure out a way to incentivize businesses to hire folks who are underemployed in our community.

Gwen Hamilton (NSBR): I want to say thank you. You’re doing wonderful, very difficult work. I hope the result of today’s meeting is some opportunities to collaborate with others on the call who may be doing similar work, have similar needs, or offer similar services. One, no one has talked about CTEC, a high school training program, they’re under-enrolled. There’s also an automotive training program on the Department of Labor’s most wanted job list. I brought those out because I want to share with you where I am today...it haunts me because two years ago Chief Paul said, “We have got to stop growing criminals.” It takes us back to what is systemic? What is the commonality? The commonality is reading and literacy. We have got to make sure that our youngest, early childhood, are wrapped in the services they need and that they learn to read by third grade and beyond so that the wonderful programs you have don’t become bigger over time. You guys are struggling to deal with it on the back end. It starts at a young age. There’s data that show that when people, particularly African American men, can’t read by third or fourth grade, they know it, they’re embarrassed and they find other options to keep them happy.

Zoe Haddad (The Walls Project): I was curious about medication access - anything from ADHD medication to insulin. Lindi also put into the chat, what are the services as far as people who have physical disabilities, developmental delays, etc. That sometimes gets left out of the conversation and that can be life or death for some people. I’m curious what services, if any, are out there.

Tekoah Boatner: Most of the kids in our target population have Medicaid, so they can get their medication. We are writing a program to do medical case management with kids because as with all things adults are often seeking to do things to kids not with them...you hand a kid a mental health diagnosis and then you give them psychotropics and say, “Here, take it.” And there’s nothing else that follows about what it’s doing to their brain and their bodies. Large scale, if they are diagnosed with anything, look to organizations in the area for programs for kids who don’t have Medicaid. Most pharmacies have an internal program, St. Vincent De Paul has a pharmaceutical program. When we have extra prescriptions we take it to them and they disperse them. If you come across a kid without insurance, there is no reason. Louisiana doesn’t get a lot right, but they got that right. There’s no reason for the kids not to be insured. Kids can get access to medication but keeping them on the medication is the next step.

Aishala Burgess: I see there’s a question about Medicaid when they enter the juvenile justice system...their Medicaid will follow them. Most facilities should have a physician, nurse…there’s nurses around the juvenile detention center all the time. Next, Casey, I did have a question. I’m always looking for help - if there’s anyone with resources to help youth when their TWIC card is denied...there is an appellate process, but it’s a lot of cumbersome paperwork. A lot of people have no idea that that denial is something they can appeal.

Alfreda Tillman Bester: I am a member of the Reentry Coalition with the Department of Corrections and one of the things that’s happening is a real discussion about whether TWIC should be required by employers, and the responsibilities that many of these young people are given when they go in there, they really should not have it. I just want you to know that that’s a real discussion about the qualifications on the TWIC card.

Jennifer Dobies: I am a social worker with a public defenders office at Juvenile Court so most of these resources I’m dropping in the chat are just because I’ve referred people to them. I put some info about CTEC requirements. Uplifted is a great program we’ve worked with for people with disabilities and connecting them with work...a big part of my job is connecting people with resources.

Community Announcements

Reverend Anderson: On Sunday, June 13th from 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition (EBRPPRC) in partnership with our partners is hosting a virtual forum for candidates applying for the Chief of the East Baton Rouge Public Defenders District. The Forum will be hosted on the Coalition’s Facebook page EBRPPRC. The Coalition and its partners are pleased to offer the community an opportunity to learn the vision and direction of the four finalists for this critical role in East Baton Rouge Parish.

Alfreda Tillman Bester: LA State Conference of the NAACP is holding its state convention here in BR at the Marriott Hotel Sept. 16-19. For those who are lawyers we will have COE available. Registration is $30. We generally between 8-10 hours of COE, including your professional responsibility and your ethics. Not just for lawyers, it’s for everybody. Rodneyna Hart (Capitol Park Museum): I put in the chat, but we have our Juneteenth celebrations coming up at Capitol Park Museum. We partnered with the African American Museum - they're going to be hosting Rev. Jetson here at the museum from 6-9 PM. We'll have music, spoken word, talk about the Green Book Exhibition. We will be hosting that event June 18th. On Saturday morning we’re going to have a program for young people talking about some of the customs of Juneteenth - eating red food and why it’s significant, how to celebrate the holiday at home or with your own family. That will be 10:30-12:00 at Capitol Park Museum. Also, for the Green Book Exhibition, we are going to have programming every Thursday. We have booked most people but there’s still room. If there's prospectives you feel could be elevated, absolutely reach out.


Zoom Chat


08:49:46 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone: Ms Burgess what age are these children?

08:51:21 From Gwendolyn Hamilton to Everyone: How many children/young adults do you serve. What does your staffing pattern look like. What are the gaps in services?

08:52:29 From Donald Andrews to Everyone: Ms. Burgess Do you keep data on your cases and the outcomes of your intervention and is it available for analysis?

08:53:15 From Esperanza Zenon to Everyone: How can this project be replicated in Ascension Parish?

08:53:17 From Alfreda Tillman Bester to Everyone: How do you involve the parents, Aishala?

08:56:33 From Tyler Litt to Everyone: So important, Roxson—Seeing the humanity in children is so important.

08:57:23 From Jen Tewell (she/her) to Everyone: Community IS the antidote to violence and addiction.

08:57:29 From Pam Wall to Everyone: Not exactly related but, yes, everything is related in some way.....Does anyone on the zoom know about projects in other states that roll out youth job training programs (and job training is a goal of many of you) where youth are trained but their parents, if unemployed or underemployed, can also participate. The evaluation of these programs show that teen and parent reinforce the skills taught and help each other find those jobs that are the goal.

08:58:14 From Jen Tewell (she/her) to Everyone: YES!

08:58:40 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: This parish and state is one big trauma, whether pandemic, cancer alley, floods, violence, etc. But low and no wealth communities aren't provided counselors and restorative resources but law enforcement, law enforcement> Our school to prison pipeline is so huge because this is the model.

08:59:09 From HAWF Team to Everyone: I have to hop to another call. But I leave you with this from Bryan Stevenson: "Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done." Think about your biggest mistake and if that followed you around every day. Every person is capable of change and redemption.

08:59:15 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Youth Oasis does amazing work for children that the community has honestly thrown away!

09:00:22 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Again transportation is a huge barrier to children getting into safe out of school and after school programming.

09:00:31 From Casey Phillips to Everyone: Thank you for that quote Tristi!

09:01:16 From Jen Tewell (she/her) to Everyone: Hey all! This has been an inspiring meeting - y'all are amazing. I'm a therapist at Grief Recovery Center and Red Stick Mental Health. The Wisdom of Trauma documentary is being screened virtually now UNTIL 6/14/21 with Dr. Gabor Mate, here is the sign-up link - it's a powerful documentary created in a way it can be shared with both trauma-informed providers AND clients/general public. https://drgabormate.com/the-wisdom-of-trauma

09:01:46 From Tyra Banks to Everyone: Thanks for sharing that

09:01:54 From Erin to Everyone: Good morning everyone — Thrilled to join you this morning. I’m joining by phone unfortunately, as I’m en route to Shreveport. I lead Propel America, which connects disadvantaged 18-24 year olds to careers through financial assistance for short-term college training programs, career coaching and wrap around supports, and job transition and placement supports. I’d love to connect with anyone who works with this population! - Erin Bendily 225-937-8873 https://www.propelamerica.org

09:02:24 From tboatner to Everyone: Very big barrier

09:02:52 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Why are some of the programs not working with our established youth development programs that have excellent track records like 4-H, etc?

09:04:24 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: You can't be a community that keeps paying people nickels and dimes and expect good results.

09:05:02 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: How many youth annually do these programs serve?How many serve youth pre-criminal justice impacted?

09:05:20 From Tyra Banks to Everyone: I love this! Work hours are not 9-5 for everyone

09:05:41 From Tyra Banks to Everyone: I can definitely do Nurturing Parenting training. I’m certified

09:06:05 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: 360 schools are a great model!

09:06:10 From Alfredo Cruz to Everyone: yes!

09:06:51 From Dr. Pamela Ravare-Jones to Everyone: EmployBR is a great resource for Youth, Adults,

and dislocated workers - The program services in-school and out of school youth - for more information please call 225.358.4579

09:07:22 From tboatner to Everyone: We would happily staff after hours at schools so teachers can focus on teaching and not child rescue

09:07:28 From Rodneyna Hart to Everyone: Do we have a directory for all of our guests and we regulars?

09:07:52 From Roxson Welch to Everyone: FYSC has family support groups via Zoom that are after hours. They are truly wonderful

09:08:00 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Why do we spend tax dollars for policing but ask all these programs to live and die on grants.

09:08:25 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone: YES Rev Anderson

09:08:46 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: JAG is awesome!

09:08:53 From Jen Tewell (she/her) to Everyone: It's a national issue.

09:08:56 From Roxson Welch to Everyone: FYSC serves children and families throughout EBRP. Many of our clients are walk-ins or call-ins that get help quickly. Project Impact serves 60 families.

09:09:25 From christian to Everyone: Another option would be for the schools to create bus stops at youth serving organizations….

09:10:17 From Walls Project to Everyone: Also grants requiring extensive financial information/proof of the participants just to participate is a big barrier

09:10:28 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: There are great organizations like VOTE, Families and Friends of Incarcerated Children, Daughters of the Incarcerated, Capital Area Re-entry Coalition, REAL to work with impacted families and those closest to the collateral damage created by putting children in the criminal justice system. We have great subject matter experts.

09:11:36 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: We are not bringing up the elephant in the room: racism. What is the racial make-up in the juvenile justice system?

09:12:04 From Rachelle "Ray-chel" Sanderson (she/her) to Everyone: Addressing intergenerational trauma is key

09:13:21 From Esperanza Zenon to Everyone: there is 4h in my parish but not one comes to the schools on my side of the river

09:14:47 From Jennifer Dobies to Everyone: Youth are often hesitant to join programs that are in connection with law enforcement, as well. Especially if they are already system involved.

09:15:43 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone: What age does foster care end for kids in LA?

09:15:54 From tboatner to Everyone: They can stay until 21 now

09:16:31 From Jen Tewell (she/her) to Everyone: Our entire culture is built on a foundation of white supremacy and colonizers who have never owned the horrific damage we've done and continue to do with BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, Disabilities and all the other marginalized identities.

09:18:25 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: We are one of the highest parishes with domestic violence. We have to acknowledge the role of domestic violence.

09:18:31 From Pam Wall to Everyone: Every survey I know about highlights transportation and for young moms, child care as the largest barriers to enrolling in job training programs.

09:19:44 From Jen Tewell (she/her) to Everyone: Yes Rev. Anderson - domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault and abuse, poverty.....

09:20:38 From Rachelle "Ray-chel" Sanderson (she/her) to Everyone: Could be significant opportunities through the development of the green and water economies as we work towards a just transition - also wondering what it would look like to unionize for these so that there is job security, better benefits, higher wages, etc?

09:21:02 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Say that!

09:21:05 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone: North Baton Rouge Initiative has been AMAZING at BRCC

09:21:21 From Liz Smith to Everyone: Now that the MJ Foster Promise Program has passed through the legislature, could we ask LCTCS to come tell us about it? It will help with access to training for adults outside the traditional workforce pipeline.

09:21:38 From Casey Phillips to Everyone: Great idea Liz

09:21:51 From Ann Zanders to Everyone: And North Baton Rouge Initiative is free

09:22:08 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Criminalizing youth makes it so much harder to help them.

09:22:33 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone: What are the youngest incarcerated kids in LA?

09:22:34 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone: Yes, Ann....its been a blessing to several of our kids.

09:22:52 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Good example! I never thought of time that way!

09:22:55 From Jen Tewell (she/her) to Everyone: Y'all always inspire me but today is off the charts. Thank you for this. I have to head to my next session. Have a great weekend!

09:23:10 From Casey Phillips to Everyone: And Thank You!

09:23:28 From Jennifer Dobies to Everyone: Kids can be incarcerated started art age 10 in LA

09:23:34 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone: that’s insane

09:24:29 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: It's so Louisiana!

09:24:39 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone: Let’s change that!

09:25:03 From sarahbarlow to Everyone: BRCC offers Reboot training in Healthcare and Skilled Crafts to students as they pursue their HISET--the goal is that students concurrently complete. We are also removing GPA barriers for kids in High School interested in engaging in technical programs.

09:25:04 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone: I am in desperate need of someone that focus on Literacy! I have kids that can't read. Any help PLEASE!!

09:25:55 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Contact VOTE, Capital Area Re-entry, REAL and East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition!

09:26:22 From Jennifer Dobies to Everyone: https://www.adultliteracyadvocates.org/ Literacy Group for Baton Rogue (18 +)

09:26:52 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Traditional programs like 4-H and Girl Scouts were some of the first groups to run programming in carceral environments.

09:27:37 From sarahbarlow to Everyone: BRCC provides literary classes free at our Acadian Campus in our ABE program. And numeracy.

09:28:15 From christian to Everyone: Every child in the Y’s camps or out-of-school time programs receives a literacy program

09:28:50 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Groups like the Gardiere Initiative and CADAV are doing exceptional work and live in the community and yet there programs are starving for resources and yet we keep funding the new shinning thing that is law enforcement centric. It tells our children exactly what we value.

09:29:25 From tboatner to Everyone: I get so many calls from parents who are just out of options, support and patience

09:29:28 From Zoë - Walls Project (she/her) to Everyone: I’m curious about medical issues for children, specifically medication access - are there programs that help ensure prescriptions are available/paid for?

09:29:46 From Liz Smith to Everyone: NexusLA and Dow are leading the way for the BR region in offering Apprenticeships, which train people for jobs while they're on the job - so they earn and learn.

09:30:03 From Liz Smith to Everyone: I've gotta run. Thanks, everyone and have a wonderful weekend!

09:30:06 From Casey Phillips to Everyone: Esperanza you are next then Aishala

09:31:10 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: To address COVID-19 we learned that we had to take it to the street. I think we have to take those same tools to youth development. We never talk about the amazing role of our super library system in helping facility support services for the entire community.

09:32:13 From Lindi Rubin Spalatin to Everyone: I am curious if any of these training programs and outreach programs are doing anything with people living with disabilities. Often time these communities are separated out or ignored when it comes to development across the board. Does anyone know if the MJ Foster Promise has designated any fund for outreach to people living with physical disabilities or developmental delays?

09:33:22 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: How many of the programs work with the non-English speaking population and the special needs population?

09:34:05 From Jennifer Dobies to Everyone: https://upliftd.org/ voc services for people with disabilities

09:34:12 From sarahbarlow to Everyone: barlows@mybrc.eduwww.mybrcc.edu 4197041081 (cell)

09:34:19 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone: YES Esperanza!!!

09:34:43 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: No employer should be able to get tax incentives without being willing to service our hard to employ populations.

09:34:53 From Jennifer Dobies to Everyone: https://thearc.org/chapter/the-arc-baton-rouge/ another program for people with disabilities

09:34:57 From Erin to Everyone: Propel connects students who train with employers, with guaranteed interviews!

09:35:05 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Absolutely!

09:35:10 From sarahbarlow to Everyone: Esperanza--great point That is why BRCC is so focused on internships as a part of our Automotive, Criminal Justice, and Process Technology programs.

09:35:24 From Erin to Everyone: We also prep the student with soft skills, interview prep, and transition services and supports.

09:36:47 From sarahbarlow to Everyone: The BRCC Tara High Early College Academy Cy-TECH is a direct path to IBM. Employer partners are a key to this all making a difference

09:37:09 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Love this conversation! Great work, Casey!

09:37:22 From Kevin Guitterrez to Everyone: Thanks so much for all of the work represented on this call!

09:38:06 From Pam Wall to Everyone: What are the academic requirements of CTec?

09:38:22 From Perry Sholes to Everyone: www.internshiptalent.org is a college level internship program. We are working to increase our presence in BTR and work to bring employers to the table. perry@internshiptalent.org

09:38:41 From Pam Wall to Everyone: Too many employers only want the students who are B students...…….

09:38:57 From tboatner to Everyone: That's the issue Pam

09:39:14 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone: Yes, Pam

09:39:20 From Jennifer Dobies to Everyone: CTEC admit requirements: Students have to be on track for graduation Good attendance & discipline records Students must have a passing math and English EOC.

09:39:20 From Erin to Everyone: Please connect any 18-24 year olds who are interested in free college training and job placement supports in automotive technology to this opportunity: http://bit.ly/propelauto

09:39:35 From Judith Rhodes to Everyone: https://ebrschools.org/programs/ebr-ctec/ C Tech HS program in N Baton Rouge

09:40:30 From Esperanza Zenon to Everyone: Universal Pre-K is needed. I have been helping my daughter to navigate the application process for getting my g-daughter into Pre-K only to be told that there are only 257 slots. What happens to child 258?

09:40:39 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Good point!

09:41:51 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: What happens to their Medicaid when they are in the juvenile justice system?

09:44:01 From Judith Rhodes to Everyone: https://ololchildrens.org/our-network/clinical-specialties/health-centers-in-schools/ Healthcare Centers in Schools for children enrolled in EBRPSS

09:44:04 From tboatner to Everyone: Same!

09:44:43 From Jennifer Dobies to Everyone: The Public Defender's Office is currently working to appeal a TWIC card for a juvenile client. Aishala, once we find out the results of that, I can let you know.

09:45:10 From Ann Zanders to Everyone: Ms. Burgess please put your email address in the chat.

09:45:21 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Again, VOTE, REAL, Capital Area Re-entry, etc. Southeast Legal Services helps with some of this work.

09:45:24 From Gardere Initiative to Everyone: aZaab@peoplebuildingcommunities.org ; ashqarzaab@hotmail.com ; Ashqar Zaab helps with mentoring, guidance, education and accountability for folks preparing for petrochemical industry. He serves everyone. Veterans and previously incarcerated are served by People Building Communities (PBC). PBC helps people transition for school and work by assisting with TWIC remediation and appeal process, Passport and OHSA reciprocity, Association of Builders and Contractors (ABC) qualification courses, and wrap-around-type case management.

09:45:49 From Casey Phillips to Everyone: Jennifer Dobies - can you come off mute and share some of the great resources you are sharing in the chat?

09:46:15 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone: Aishala Burgess-aburgess@callatrucebr.org. My cell number is 504.481.4069

09:47:04 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Jennifer is amazing!

09:48:17 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana

09:48:28 From Rodneyna Hart to Everyone: Happy Anniversary!

09:48:30 From Ann Zanders to Everyone: I may have someone that works with REAL

09:48:34 From Verna Bradley-Jackson to Everyone: Ms. Linda, I will get her info.

09:48:50 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Happy Anniversary!

09:49:03 From Judith Rhodes to Everyone: http://www.leaac.com/faq-resources/qualifying-for-a-transportation-worker-identification-credential/ lots of good info about TWIC

09:49:28 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone: Thank you all so much for listening

09:49:53 From Lindi Rubin Spalatin to Everyone: This was a conversation. Thank you for this. I have to go to another meeting.

09:49:55 From sarahbarlow to Everyone: Thank for all you do

09:50:12 From tboatner to Everyone: tboatner@youthoasis.org

09:50:14 From Zoë - Walls Project (she/her) to Everyone: Thank you so much for everything y’all do. This has been an incredible conversation.

09:50:44 From Rinaldi Jacobs Sr to Everyone: The new "F" word is Felony! 50,000 truck drivers needed. 65,000 insurances adjusters needed, 314,000 cyber security people needed. Education less than 10K for school less than 4 months training requires all average 40K starting

09:50:49 From Karla King - concerned citizen to Everyone: Thank you again for this conversation today. Please know those of us in the community are listening, sharing, and networking this information

09:50:52 From Roxson Welch to Everyone: Roxson Welch email: roxson@fysc-ebr.org

09:50:52 From Gardere Initiative to Everyone: TWIC is not hard, it is a simple process for regular folks, https://www.tsa.gov/for-industry/twic - . There are some issues for those with criminal record that someone should speak to .

09:51:11 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Excellent point, the new F word!

09:51:19 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone: Thank you so much for this. A lot to take in. Thanks for doing this amazing work

09:51:49 From tboatner to Everyone: 24 hour agency y'all lol

09:52:17 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Thank you Casey

09:52:48 From Zoë - Walls Project (she/her) to Everyone: Reminder that any flyers/announcements you’d like to lift up can be emailed to zoe@thewallsproject.org to include in the meeting notes.

09:53:04 From tboatner to Everyone: Have a good weekend everyone!

09:53:19 From SK Groll to Everyone: Thanks for sharing that Rev. Anderson

09:53:46 From Rodneyna Hart to Everyone: Same as always, Juneteenth at CPM on the 18th 6-9 with BRAAMuseum and Rev Jetson and 19th 10:30am-12pm with Chef Celeste. Also GREEN BOOK, looking for voices and prospectives for programs. 225-229-3389, rhart@crt.la.gov

09:57:04 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone: Everyone should do Juneteenth! It's amazing celebration and the state will finally be recognizing it as a state holiday!

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