We here at the Collaborative are friends with many non-profit organizations. United Returning Citizens is one of them and has been a long time friend. They are a start-up, non-profit corporation that serves the Youngstown, Ohio Tri-County area. URC was founded for formerly incarcerated citizens, but upon reaching to help this large demographic they found the scope to be much larger. They realized that the community impacted by incarceration needs aid, not just those who were incarcerated.
As part of their contribution to the COVID-19 relief effort, they created the P.A.A.R.C initiative – which stands for Project Aid and Assist Returning Citizens. Recently OHC was able to have a discussion with URC representative Dionne to gather more information about this project.
Anthony H – So how many places or institutions do you think you have served?
Dionne D – Two jails, the carter houses (is comprised of three houses total), and two apartment complexes
Anthony H – Very nice! So, when did you start this effort?
Dionne D – This effort has been going since the beginning of March
Anthony H – Sounds great, what would you say was the incentive behind this? Other than the distribution of face masks
Dionne D – To serve the 1/3rd that go unheard in these times of pandemic
Anthony H – Thank you so much for all of this, one last question. How large is the group of volunteers that are going to all these places?
Dionne D – Currently we have a group of five volunteers
That pretty much wrapped up our conversation on the subject of P.A.A.R.C , but there are some crucial takeaways here. First one being that despite the size of their volunteer group, it did not stop them from reaching out to all the different locations that they have so far. Secondly, it addresses the “1/3rd that go unheard”. This means that there are approximately 33% of Youngstown City residents, some who may even be our neighbors, who fear that there may be no help them. It’s important to reach out and stay connected, remind them that despite us all being apart socially, we will get throught this together.