Annual Report

Update from Elain Ellerbe, President & CEO - June, 2012

At mid-year, RBF has accomplished several milestones for the organization and can report several outstanding results. A few include:

  • Biggest News - RBF has just been approved as a Bridges Out of Poverty area consultant and licensee by aha! Process, Inc., the agency that distributes the Bridges Out of Poverty programs such as Getting Ahead in A Just Getting By World and R Rules.   Our licensed geographical areas are the Baton Rouge Metro (includes the surrounding nine parishes) and Ouachita Parish in Northeast Louisiana which covers Monroe and West Monroe.  This designation means we can now charge for our Bridges trainings and are recognized as National Trainers of these programs.  We also have three Certified Trainers in the organization which includes myself, Michael Ellerbe, RBF Founder & Corrections Liaison and our Board Chair Cleve Fontenot.
  • Prison Reentry Programs
    • Parenting
      • DCI - We graduated a class of 45 in our Nurturing Parenting program which brings the total incarcerated fathers reached through our Parenting Classes (which also includes our Inside/Out Dad classes to well over 1,000.  We are also providing the Parenting module for the Pre-Release Program which reaches approximately 120 offenders each quarter.
      • State Police Barracks -  We have trained additional peer facilitators at the Barracks and two of our DCI trained peer facilitators have been transferred to the Barracks which enables us to provide both Nurturing Parenting and Inside/Out Dad to the trustee offenders housed here.  To date 60 have completed Nurturing Parenting and 40 have completed Inside/Out Dad.  A class of 25 are presently completing Inside/Out Dad.  We are also going to implement the Read to Me Daddy program there with the Barracks providing the filming and editing portion of the program.
      • Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women (LCIW) - We have been able to implement Read to Me Mommy at LCIW and completed filming of our second group of moms in April. To date 30 moms have been filmed representing 75 children.  We are also providing the Parenting module for their Pre-Release program which reaches 100 women a quarter.  We have been contacted by the Newcomb College for Women at Tulane University to work together in the Fall with the Read to Me Mommy project.  Newcomb will be providing funding and possibly students to do the filming and editing.  This will save money for RBF and insure the program can continue.  We presently have about 300 women on the waiting list!!
    • Solutions to Poverty/Financial Empowerment / Bridges Out of Poverty
      • DCI - Last October, we began a pilot class of six young offenders utilizing The R Rules program which is a variation of the Getting Ahead program, but for middle and high school age youth.  With younger offenders (18-22) coming into the general population of DCI, we were urged by our peer facilitators to find a program to reach these younger young men.  Since many had dropped out of school at 10th grade, this program, with a few tweaks, fit them perfect.  They graduated in May and each one accomplished some outstanding goals from no write ups for over six months, getting into the Toastmasters or Jaycees clubs, working on their GED or getting into a trade.  I've attached an article that we have submitted to the Bridges Out of Poverty agency, aha! Process and it is under consideration for being published in a compilation of successful programs across the nation.
      • State Police Barracks - We have had one class of 20 complete the Getting Ahead and the FDIC Money Smart programs and are presently working with another group of 20.   A new twist we are adding to the program is to provide the men with books on subjects they are interested in learning more about.
      • LCIW (Women's Prison) -  We are presently providing the Bridges Out of Poverty presentations for the Pre-Release classes, but we also want to get a Getting Ahead program started there as well.  We need a group sponsor at this point to make that a reality.
  • Community-Based Solutions to Poverty/Financial Empowerment
    • Bridges Out of Poverty Presentations - Now that we have the licensee designation for the two areas of the state, we are in conversations presently with key partners in Baton Rouge, Port Allen and Monroe/West Monroe to provide initially community education programs on the Bridges Out of Poverty constructs and philosophy.  Community leaders in Monroe/West Monroe are working to find us opportunities to speak in public and we are scheduled to address the West Monroe Rotary Club and Kiwanis Club in August.
      • Hope RISING! - The Ouachita Parish collaboration has chosen the name of Hope RISING! for their initiative.  We are collaborating with non-profits there to write a number of grants to fund implementation of Getting Ahead and R Rules groups.  We have some committed agencies in Monroe/West Monroe and we will be doing our first training there in August.  By Fall, we will be helping to implement a Getting Ahead group for under-resourced families and ex-offenders with the mentors of the Northeast Reentry Coalition and Freedmen of First Baptist of West Monroe.  We will also help implement R Rules groups for foster children who are transitioning out of the system soon with a collaboration with the Louisiana Baptist Children's Home in Monroe.
      • Louisiana RISING! - For the metro Baton Rouge initiative, we have launched Louisiana RISING! to brand our solutions to poverty/financial empowerment programs in the communities here.  We are writing a number of grants to fund this work and we have interest from the East Baton Rouge Truancy Assessment Center and the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination project (BRAVE) to utilize the Bridges, Getting Ahead and R Rules for their staff, volunteers and clients.  The BRAVE initiative's key focus is to provide opportunities for younger offenders to get out of the criminal lifestyle by bringing together all manner of service providers to develop a wrap-around safety net to insure their success.   RBF's proven programs are a perfect fit for this type of effort.
  • . . .and the list of success stories of offenders returning home, finding jobs, reuniting with families, becoming homeowners could fill several more pages. We receive calls each week with reports of how knowledge and skills acquired while participating in RBF programs is working back at home.  A very special thanks to all of our supporters and donors who help us to make a difference in our state!