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November 30, 2012


November 30, 2012

OAR of Fairfax helped me upon release after serving 10 1/2 years in the VA Dept. of Corrections. I was placed in the VASAVOR (Virginia Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Program) program and not by choice. I was lucky to have a loving caring family to return to (even though I had one while I was out breaking the law) , a lot of prisoners have lost all contact with their loved ones while incarcerated. I was placed in the program which was partly administered by OAR. I was mad that I had served all this time and was still being punished upon release, a typical attitude of the blame everyone else victim of life that I and many of my fellow inmates knew well. You see that while most people beleive you are rehabilitated in prison that is not true. You are warehoused and that is it. Upon release you are very likely to be re-incarcerated within 3 years. This is where OAR stepped in for me and many others just like me. OAR teaches you what you need to survive and eventually thrive in the real world. They have classes and groups for all the different problems that appear in an X-inmates life upon release. They help you locate food, shelter, and clothing when in need. It took me a while to realize that OAR was making a difference in my life by giving me positive things to do, keeping me busy. Whereas without them upon release, I would have more than likely fallen back to my old ways of thinking and doing things. Upon release I still wore the mask I wore while inside to keep people away from me. I wanted to take it off but did not know how. It fit really well after all those years. OAR taught me how to be the person I was meant to be, not the angry, un-caring criminal I became. OAR keeps the community safer, taxes lower and people like me finally productive as citizens and neighbors. OAR always treated me with respect and dignity whenever I entered their offices and taught me to do the same with everyone I meet. Not many people want to help people like me, let alone work with them on a daily basis. This is why we need to support OAR. If you can please look at their website, oarfairfax.org to see what a great program this is and donate to them if you are able, better yet volunteer if you have time. Today I have passed the 3 year marker and am finishing up my senoir year in college, something I couldn't dare dream of a few short years ago. OAR cared about me when I and other's wouldn't or couldn't. Showing me how to live a good responsible life. Letting me know that I too was deserving of a decent life if I put the work into it that was required. I know this sounds simple for the majority of you but for a lot of us out here it takes a long time to figure this out and OAR was the program that reached out to me and others like me and led us back to our place in society as responsible, productive citizens.

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