Get involved!

Attention all Coalition Members and Guests!

One of the ways to keep growing as a coalition is to make sure we are reaching out to new members of our community and engaging them in our work.  If you feel like you are on the outside of the work of Fairbanks Reentry Coalition and you would like to be a more integral part please call to set up an appointment with the Coalition Coordinator, Linda Setterberg!  907-987-6045! Or email me at reentry@iacnvl.org.

We have opportunities for you to serve on one of our work groups, Employment, Health, Housing, Peer Support and Cultural Connections. Each of these work groups has a chair that serves on the FRC Steering Committee. Currently, the commitment is a quarterly meeting, with Employment and Peer Support moving to monthly meetings due to our new grants. Our steering committee would also like to have a member of the Mobility Coalition to join to keep us apprised of the transportation issues in the FNSB.

Other volunteer activities are available and Marsha Oss is the contact for case management. Call her at 907-328-8480 or email at reentrycasemanager@iacnvl.org to find out what openings she has available.  The news is that after a few hours of volunteering you will be employed in the perfect job.

See you on April 4th at 10am at the City Hall Council Chambers for our next coalition meeting!

Linda Setterberg

As the Fairbanks Reentry Coalition Coordinator,  my job is to bring agencies and people to the table to give reentering citizens the keys to successfully achieve their personal goals. 

It's a Puzzle!

Fairbanks Reentry Coalition is building something in Fairbanks and the pieces are not all in place yet.  I think that they exist but they need to fit together more neatly.  There may still be a few left in the box to discover and a few may have fallen to the floor. 

When I put puzzles together I like to put the edge pieces in place first, sorting through the pile of pieces to pick up the one with a smooth edge, the corner, and the borders.  Earlier this month we were given a puzzle to put together and I have to remind myself that even though we have the picture (the grant narrative) it’s going to take some time to put it all together.  The timeline was hopeful and before we get all the pieces in place we need a place to put them!  So for now we are gathering the pieces and when we get the place ready we will put them all in place.  

We hope to announce our new space by March 20th so keep tuned in!  Our next coalition meeting will be April 4th at 10am at our City Hall Council Chambers.  Hope to see you there!

Reentry is Growing!!

Happy Valentine’s Day! May all of your relationships be strong today as you express your friendship, loyalty and love! 

Reentry is about to GROW!!  Those three grants we wrote in December with our coalition partners as a response to the Opioid Crisis in Alaska, we got them!  One will fund a Recovery Residence, sober housing for people in treatment and leaving incarceration!  The second grant is for Peer Support and we are in the process of hiring the Supervisor and in the next few weeks four Peer Support Specialists. The third grant is for Supported Employment and we will hire a Supervisor and two part-time Employment Specialists.  The last two grants will be part of the Reentry Coalition and will staff a Reentry Center as well as going out into the community with peers that need assistance in the early days of reentry and navigating a sober lifestyle.

In support of all of our Reentry Coalition agencies we will be helping develop a Peer Support workforce starting with training in April.  Now that we have the grant we have so much work to do so just stay tuned and connect with us on Facebook. 

Happy New Year!

2018 ended in a flurry of activity! All of my writing was focused on grants, not this blog, and then just when I was getting into the swing of 2019 a brief illness swept me off my feet.  Before January ends I want to check in with you!  Happy New Year!  I hope 2019 is full of new beginnings and a renewed since of hope!

 One of the results of writing grants is looking at our successes!  Since Reentry Case Management started in February 2017 Marsha has seen 91 clients for case management, of those only 21 have gone back to jail, when you do the math that’s 23% recidivism.  Really remarkable!! There are a few things that make this number possible. 1) Our communities’ commitment to make connections for our returning citizens! 2) Marsha’s ability to find resources from housing to mini grants for her clients. 3) Most important is the determination of the returning citizen to stay out of jail and become a contributing member of our community.

On January 15th we graduated a new group of individuals who completed Case Management! We are so proud of their successes.  Thank you to Doyon for the gift cards, June Rogers for the gift certificates to McCafferty’s, Mike Sanders for raffle tickets, Heather Young owner of Young at Heart for donating her time and supplies for the paintings, Marvin Roberts for speaking, Kinfel United for playing, Becca Brado for making the food and Rev. Scott Fisher for the prayer! We are so pleased that our graduates have this kind of community support!


graduation Jan 19.jpg

Linda Setterberg

As the Fairbanks Reentry Coalition Coordinator,  my job is to bring agencies and people to the table to give reentering citizens the keys to successfully achieve their personal goals. 

Lady Justice

Lady Justice with eyes covered by a blindfold is the picture of the idea of justice being impartial, she can’t see the color of your skin, your class or position in life.  The scales she holds weigh the evidence in the case and the sword represents the punishment.  This 16th century symbolism is used today and while it is rejected by some, much to my surprise at a recent event I attended, still holds the hope for justice for all. I would like to believe that the only people incarcerated in our jails are guilty as charged and only there for the time it takes for rehabilitation.

At UAF we watched the film Breaking the Cycle comparing US prisons to those in Norway.  I was taken by the high toll that is paid by the correctional officers working in American prisons who are just glad to get home alive each day compared to the comradery of correctional officers and inmates at Halden prison.  As a US Citizen I would like to see my tax dollars and state revenue spent on rehabilitation rather than punishment based on emotion.  This is not a soft on crime mentality… this is a humanizing of the criminal so that someday he/she can be my neighbor.

I came away from last weekend with tears in my eyes and a desire to bring change, to be part of the solution with the idea that Fairbanks would be a good place to build a Halden style prison to replace the aging and cramped Fairbanks Correctional Center.   Whenever I share my dreams I remind people that Fairbanks is the end of the world and in this community we could change everything if we worked together.  With that in mind please join me on December 6th to listen to retired Judge Stephanie Rhoades speak at our regular coalition meeting (10am at City Hall).

Gratitude

“Gratitude will shift you to a higher frequency, and you will attract much better things.” – Rhonda Byrne

This week I hope that you will do a little experiment with me to raise the frequency of your body by practicing gratitude.  Not only will it change your brain but it will make you more resilient.  A healthy body has a frequency between 62-80 MHz.   

THE DISEASED BODY

  • Colds and the Flu start at 57–60 MHz

  • Disease starts at 58 MHz

  • Candida overgrowth starts at 55 MHz

  • Receptive to Epstein Barr at 52 MHz

  • Receptive to Cancer at 42 MHz

  • Death begins at 25 MHz

 This study of frequency led me to healing of sound, essential oils and prayer. But today I want you to consider the power of gratitude.  It won’t change your situation but it will do something to YOU!  So this is my challenge to you today… for 21 days practice gratitude. Get a journal, your Facebook account, your blog and begin to change your life by acknowledging the good things and even the hard things in your life.  If you are like me turn on Wholetones, get that EO diffuser going and say a prayer too.

Over the weekend at the LION Think Tank at UAF I heard someone say how grateful they were for being incarcerated, it changed the trajectory of their life for the better. They proceeded to list the people in their life that had helped them along the way, the allies in the form of instructors, probation officers, counselors, friends and family that made the path just a little bit easier.  You want this man in your life because he radiates hope, hope for redemption.

Today, I am so grateful for the beautiful space that I get to invite people into here at Reentry, the large table, the comfy couch.  I am grateful for my colleagues that teach me and let me process my own journey along the way.  I am grateful to be invited to listen at community gatherings across our city.  I am honored when a returning citizen chooses to share their story with me.  Thank you Fairbanks for joining the Reentry Coalition!

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#NeverForget

This weekend I listened to SNL with Pete Davidson and his apology to Navy Seal Dan Crenshaw recently elected to represent District 2 of Texas in the House.  Humor should be funny, make you laugh and not offend.  Crenshaw said in an interview that Seal’s don’t get offended.  This exchange on SNL was a lesson in forgiveness, common ground and ended with the instruction to greet our veterans with the phrase, “Never Forget.”  If you didn’t see it, here it is… SNL

With that exhortation we all remembered our own family, friends and acquaintances impacted by war. Their heroism, their impact and our loss as some paid with their own lives for our freedom all cause us to be grateful.  

There is a statistic that causes us to pause, 22 veterans each day take their own lives in the United States.  Some of our sons and daughters suffer from PTSD just as our fathers and grandfathers did. On occasion addiction grips their lives and in the same way that anyone becomes homeless, they do. And on occasion they are incarcerated.  So on all of our reentry forms we ask that question, did you serve in the military? We ask because we don’t want to assume anything.  We also ask because veterans are eligible for services through SSVF-Support Services for Veteran Families and for treatment at the Chris Kyle Patriot Hospital in Anchorage.

My bonus dad served in World War II, when he married my mom in his early 70’s he was still having nightmares and anxiety.  He hadn’t flown in an airplane since the day a glider had rescued him from the front lines.  This meant very little to me until I visited the Silent Wings memorial in Texas and heard the stories and actually saw a glider.  Dad told me that the pilot of the glider was someone who knew his name, a neighbor from his hometown.  One afternoon we had a talk about accessing his Disabled Veteran’s benefits including a support group.  It’s never too late to heal. I am happy to report that they had many wonderful adventures and flew all over the world.

If you are struggling, there is hope and a way forward. Speak your truth and “Never Forget.”

Be Brave!

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' Eleanor Roosevelt

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/eleanor_roosevelt_121157?src=t_fear

There are times in Fairbanks when you can feel fear in the air. Monday Marsha and I had different responses to fear. There was a person in the roof of our building in a crisis.  I had been out to lunch and I decided that since I was locked out of our building I would just take a drive and work elsewhere. I didn’t want to witness death.  I couldn’t really stand the suspense. Marsha on the other hand became one of the helpers and stood with police. She was calling him to safety with her presence.  Maybe with her motions too, I can’t be sure.  Thankfully with my prayers and yours, the first responders and Marsha got him to safety.

Every morning I put on a bracelet that says, “Be Brave.”  I bought it when I started telling the story of my foster son’s suicide,  I put it on every day when my mom was in ICU,  it was lost for a while and then I found it when it seemed everything in my life was falling apart. It reminds me that courage looks fear in the face; it gets out of bed and faces the uncertainty of the day. I can say with confidence “I am brave!” because I am a survivor.

We moved up in the hills a few years back and I was terrified of coming downhill due to an accident when I was a kid. I can remember stopping at the stop sign at the corner gathering my courage to make the descent, my heart would be pounding and my palms sweaty.  When I reached the bottom of the hill I would breathe again and hope that I only had to do that trip once a day. After facing my fear for what seemed like years I can now fly down the hill without a care, unless it’s sheer ice and sometimes it is sheer ice. 

Driving with my son used to terrify me, we had a little code because he doesn’t like me to gasp, yell or tell him how to drive. If I am afraid, I gently put my hand on his. It is just a little reminder that he’s going too fast or otherwise causing me to panic without distracting him from the task at hand. 

A new friend of mine described to me the feelings of fear getting out of prison, all of the firsts: being reunited with family, going to the store for the first time, going back to school, looking for work, finding a place to live. Because of the support he chose including reentry case management, he is still sober and not returning to his former way of life.  That choice began the day he was incarcerated and continues everyday as he owns his past and has hope for the future.  This kind of courage needs to be celebrated. 

The point of these ramblings is that in the face of fear we shouldn’t run away, hide or scream.  Instead, we should try again, be a helper and be gentle or fierce as the case demands. We should also stand witness to the incredible courage of first responders, counselors and returning citizens who everyday look fear in the face.  You all have my admiration.  If you feel my hand reach out to yours today don’t let me distract you from the task at hand, rather let my presence reassure you that we are in this together.

It's Personal

Hello,  as the Reentry Coalition Coordinator I am always seeking ways to let our community engage with our work demonstrating to our returning citizens that we as a community support their success.  In 2017, 820 people returned to our community after serving their sentences in jail or prison.  Our coalition of over 30 local agencies is working to make this a seamless and safe transition.  Our mission is to create a community where returning citizens have the keys to successfully achieve their personal goals.  We believe our community is safer and stronger when we support returning citizens process of rehabilitation.

We currently have two needs, one for clients in Reentry Case Management and the other for clients that are entering treatment through the Fairbanks Wellness Court.  This ‘Personal Needs Project” will provide dignity by giving a supply of necessary items for the first few weeks after leaving an institution.  Each purse or backpack could include shampoo, conditioner, wet wipes, an emergency blanket, feminine hygiene products, lotion, chapstick, a pair of socks, toothbrush and paste, floss, ID holder, pocket calendar, spiral notebook, water bottle, deodorant, shaving kit, nail care, and pocket first aid.  Fairbanks Wellness Court would also like laundry soap and tupperware containers.  The coalition already has soap, pens, keychains, post-its, and a few other items for each bag.

Donations can be made in person at 250 Cushman Suite 3G or financial donations by designation to our fiscal partners at Interior Alaska Center for Non Violent Living, a 501 C 3 non-profit organization.  More information about Fairbanks Reentry Coalition is available on our website at fairbanksreentry.org. Please call me, Linda, at 907-987-6045 or reentry@iacnvl.org for more information. 

Linda Setterberg

As the Fairbanks Reentry Coalition Coordinator,  my job is to bring agencies and people to the table to give reentering citizens the keys to successfully achieve their personal goals. 

Insiders

Writing prompt for a UAF Think Tank in November: We each experience ourselves in various spheres of our lives as insiders and outsiders. Sometimes our feelings and beliefs as insiders or as outsiders can help us, or more often, harm us, during our process of engaging with each other. We often carry past failures, doubts and criticisms into our current moment. Our beliefs can then limit who we connect to and what we are able to do together.

Explore in a few paragraphs, one or more thoughts or beliefs about yourself as an insider and outsider.

I am a little conflicted about choosing insider or outsider. I am a person on a journey, part of humankind and sometimes I feel like I belong and just around the corner find myself in a place where I feel excluded. I used to believe that we could divide the world into secular and sacred and desired to be firmly planted in the sacred inside. Through a time of spiritual formation I found that everything, everyone, everywhere is sacred… hope shines in the most desperate situation. As a suicide survivor, the mom of sons with chronic illness, one with severe mental illness, as an aging baby boomer with four generations in my home caring for my mom and grandchildren the reality and potential for disaster, tragedy and heartache exist.  I am part of a few clubs that entry into is because of harsh reality. After a recent brain surgery and multiple losses including my beautiful 91 year old mom, my boss found me and put my experience into community advocacy. She rescued me, brought me inside again.

This past 12 weeks I attended NAMI’s (National Alliance of Mental Illness) Family 2 Family class.  All of us feeling isolated and misunderstood by our community and then we came together for a couple of hours a week and found that we faced the same struggles, in fact others wrote a book about us.  What washed over me was knowledge that I am not alone. 

I am on a sacred journey as an insider. You are too. Because of my deep belief in the God of mercy and grace I have found comfort in His extravagant love that knows no boundaries, for God so loved the world and one day people from every tribe and nation will be at the table. The sweetest stories of redemption I have heard in the last month have been formerly incarcerated people who were given hope for the future allowing someone to hear their trauma, heal their wounds and participate in programs teaching a new way of interacting with the world.

As anyone who identifies as human I have faced rejection, judgement and criticism.  I have made mistakes, had lapses in judgement and as a wiser person I find myself unlocking the doors in our community to make a place for the formerly incarcerated.  Only an insider can unlock doors allowing the excluded to come home.

As a coalition coordinator I have the privilege of inviting everyone that has any interest in addressing the barriers of returning citizens to work together, a participant said to me recently… I don’t know why I come, I feel like I am an outsider.  Then he told me the stories of success and I realized that we must do more than talk about barriers and gaps in services.  One man can make a difference, but together we can change everything. We need to celebrate our strengths. I assured him that he belonged and we needed his voice at the table.

Linda Setterberg

As the Fairbanks Reentry Coalition Coordinator,  my job is to bring agencies and people to the table to give reentering citizens the keys to successfully achieve their personal goals.