By Irma Widjojo
A local nonprofit organization received a federal grant this month that will enable them to start a mentor program for parents just released from incarceration.
The $300,000 awarded to Fighting Back Partnership is a two-year “Second Chance Act” grant allowing the organization to hire one full-time and one part-time case manager for the program, Fighting Back Executive Director Tony Pearsall said.
“It’s another giant step forward to make the city come out of all the negative issues,” Pearsall said.
Fighting Back is one of nine organizations nationwide that received the grant.
Pearsall said he hopes the program will help Vallejo parents who have just been released from jail or prison to become better parents. He also said the program will help decrease the Vallejo school district’s dropout rate.
Children of parents who are incarcerated are more likely to drop out of schools, because “nobody has broken the cycle,” he said.
The program, which starts Jan. 2, will be voluntary for those interested. The case managers will visit parents in jail and prison who will be released within 30 to 90 days and introduce them to the program.
The organization will work with Solano County Sheriff’s Office and the county’s health and human services department, Pearsall said.
Pearsall said about 80 parents will likely be involved in the mentor program, which will also refer them to other community resources and other Fighting Back programs that will benefit them.