Today marks the second week of the re-entry support group put on by the Oregon Youth Authority and The Trauma Healing Project. This group mirrors the style of an Inside-Out class and serves as a discussion based support group for men and women 16-22 who have recently left OYA custody and are returning to the community. Currently the group has six Inside-Out alumni and three participants from the OYA. The group is off to a great start. We meet every Wednesday at the First Christian Church on Oak Street. The participants from OYA and the former Inside-Out students—with guidance from two facilitators—are committed to working together to create a space that is open for dialogue concerning loneliness, temptation, healthy communication, discrimination and conflict.
It is exciting to be a member of the first re-entry group. I was slightly hesitant during my first meeting that I wouldn’t be able to get as much out of this experience as I did from my Inside-Out class. My opinion has completely shifted in just one meeting. What I learned from my I-O class was that anyone who crosses your path, no matter how different from you s/he may seem, teaches you something. What I see in this support group is hope. While the participants may be younger than myself, our dialogue in that past two weeks has been supportive, helpful, and honest. I am excited to look back at the end of this ten-week journey at all of the learning that has taken place.
Former 'outside' student
U of O