OAA Support Forums

Peer to Peer Support is sharing of encouragement and knowledge between individuals with similar life experiences. This is how we coach those who are seeking a different way of life.

Weekly support forums offer:

  • Peer to peer support

  • Fellowship

  • Acceptance with no judgment because we have been there and we understand

  • A place to solve mutual dilemmas and issues

  • A place to share known resources

  • Engage Family Members

The newly returning citizens gain wisdom and networking opportunities from other former prisoners who are already stable, working, and connected with the local community. The process generates a cycle of "offenders helping offenders. Seasoned members of the group will connect with newcomers, call them on the phone regularly, and invite them back for Monday meetings and Saturday service projects.

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“When the system had reduced me from a human being to a commodity, OAA helped me.

Because of their understanding of me, I made a healthy, positive, and powerful transition from a so-called beast back to a human being.”

OAA Inside

Now we return inside the walls voluntarily to mentor, to inspire, and to ignite hope. There is a tremendous impact when former offenders return behind the walls to share their own experiences with success. It makes a difference that we have been there and are now willing to come back.

The Alabama & Georgia Departments of Corrections embrace the work of OAA. Currently, OAA hosts forums at the Atlanta Metro Reentry Facility and at three of the largest prisons in Alabama – Limestone Correctional Facility, Bibb Correctional Facility, and St. Clair Correctional Facility.

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OAA Community Engagement

Each OAA support forum is responsible for organizing revitalization and stabilization efforts to enhance, improve, and promote safety in the communities they serve. 

Community efforts include but are not limited to:

  • Clean up and trash removal

  • Serving elderly, sick and disabled residents

  • Engaging youth in healthy activity and dialogue

  • Community events

  • Referral services

  • Vacant lot

  • Angel Tree

OAA Youth Initiative

Heroes in the Hood

This program works with system involved youth aged 14 – 18 to mentor them over a three-year period to instill work ethics and a sense of community pride.

Dr. Stacy Moak, professor of Social Work at UAB, endorsed this program:

“System involved youth are particularly vulnerable to negative environmental influences in their communities. Far too many youths in Birmingham live in areas that are structurally disadvantaged and provide very little positive interaction with responsible adults.

As an academic, I have a foot in both the worlds of criminal justice and social work. I have researched and studied juvenile justice and community systems for most of my academic career. Based on that research, mentoring programs have shown promise in improving the opportunities for these youths to see new possibilities, complete high school, become job ready, and become productive members of society.

I have been fortunate to work with this program and experience these youth. Many of them list as their goal for the year, “staying alive.” No child should be concerned about staying alive from one year to another. I strongly believe that providing adult mentors and role models that young people can rely on will provide much needed support to fragile youth during critical developmental times in their lives.”

 
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