For the past twenty years I have tirelessly investigated what appears to be the never ending topic of: Juvenile Justice, Gang Life, Adult Reentry and Absent Fathering. During this time, I’ve sat with more than 25 college professors (from 5 different universally recognized accredited institutions) and attended countless hours of groups, independent trainings and seminars on each subject. I've also searched for the answer to the seemingly connected question: “How do we successfully prevent the behaviors that contribute to an urban youth's initial contact with the criminal justice system?"
In this time, I’ve visited and studied countless internet sites alleging devotion to these topics, only to get a stale, copy and paste version of what I've heard at some seminars. Interestingly, I once came across a blog site where former and current gang members, whom were also formerly incarcerated fathers, were allowed to anonymously voice their opinion(s) on why they currently behave as they do. Not alarmingly, I discovered that a significant number of these men had absolutely no respect for and/or no faith in the American justice system when it came to the facts surrounding any understanding of ‘their’ lives. After concentrating on this blog site for a while, I conducted several independent groups with: formerly incarcerated men, absent fathers, current and former gang members asking the question: “With respect to your specific category; honestly, why do you behave the way that you do?” Repeatedly, I was told that they honestly believe that the system has absolutely no understanding or empathy for their situation(s) so they feel like they have to 'do what they have to do' to survive.
Being an active and productive father is a matter of choice, as is maintaining freedom once released, or refraining from gang membership. Throughout the years, independent research has led me to believe that in order to capture the interest of this population, an effort to make them ‘want’ to become productive must first be offered. No amount of theory or programming can make a person that does not ‘want’ to be productive, become productive.
As a business owner, educator, scholar and one of the formerly incarcerated with the capacity to empathize with these men, I honestly wish that I could report that I have the single answer to what now appears to be a series of never ending questions. Sadly, I do not. However, I do have what has proven to be an effective’ solution. The GRAAFICS Program.
I personally guarantee. Participants that enter my program and maximize their input, will exit with the skills needed to begin positive lives. They will be responsible and supportive fathers, law abiding, taxpaying citizens and contributing members of their communities. I am not only confident that GRAAFICS can make a difference in the lives of young men and women in New York City; but also urban youth worldwide.
Kai Smith, MBA, Exec. MPA, CPHR
Founder & Executive Director
Remember: Programming with us means entering into a contract. This entails us coming in to do an assessment, creating an action plan, customizing your service, building your program, setting up the operations, managing day-to-day activities and 100% of the results are yours.
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