Updated: Mar 27, 2020
Seattle’s Arms Around You is building trust to help individuals re-enter society.
Arms Around You provides pre- and -post-entry programs to assist individuals in gaining necessary life skills. The organization not only helps participants with employment and education opportunities but also provides them with tools in order to navigate their interpersonal relationships.
When Avon Curtis founded Arms Around You, she knew firsthand the importance of a reentry resource program for individuals facing an array of personal obstacles.
While living in the bay area for over 25 years, she established a strong support system that helped her emerge from a previously incarcerated and homeless population. Upon returning to her hometown of Seattle, she noticed the lack of support for incarcerated and homeless individuals as well as domestic violence survivors and those battling drug and mental health issues. In order to bridge a gap for those facing challenging times, Curtis recently started Arms Around You to create an indelible system of support.
“We want them to know that they can trust us to help with building strong reentry goals,” stated Curtis, who serves as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our goal is to help the most vulnerable people become self-sufficient, productive, contributing members of their communities.”
Arms Around You provides pre- and post-entry services to help individuals in Washington’s King and Pierce counties gain necessary life skills in the wake of the barriers they face. The organization assists participants in successfully returning to their communities by providing peer counseling, educational training, and employment opportunities that are designed to increase public safety and reduce recidivism. Most importantly, the staff and volunteers of Arms Around You place emphasis on each individual participant and guide them to adopt vital communication skills in order to succeed in school, jobs, and interpersonal relationships.
Through collaborations with different agencies and referrals from different community organizations, Arms Around You partners with case manager in correctional and social service agencies to provide the greatest support to participants. Although the organization was founded just last year, Curtis and her team are providing support to 20-50 participants per month.
Moving forward, Arms Around You will continue to build a strong community around those who benefit from their services. Curtis is planning to shape the organization’s executive board and is working to eventually provide an array of services under one roof to prevent participants from travelling to different sites. Through creating a greater presence within Washington, the staff and volunteers of Arms Around You hope to instill a sense of trust with participants and create an open dialogue regarding the struggles they endure daily. This relationship built on trust will not only aid participants to successfully reenter society, but will also encourage them to give back to their communities, just as Curtis herself can substantiate.
“I just want to be able to provide the hope , the training and the support for individuals transitioning members of their communities,” concluded Curtis.