NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

By signing up to our newsletter, you agree to our terms.

Do Something

Do the Day One Challenge

Get a glimpse of what those recently released from prison go through this Saturday.

Register for the Day One Challenge here.

Connect WITH OUR SOCIAL ACTION TEAM



Read More

About our culture of incarceration

How does Philly’s high rate of incarceration—and the challenges of reentering society—affect the city? The Reentry Project, a coalition of 15 local media organizations including The Citizen, has an explainer. 

See it here.

The Citizen Recommends: Day One Challenge

Could you make it on the outside after years in prison?

Could you make it on the outside after years in prison?

“What would you do if you found yourself fresh out of prison, a social outcast in a strange city, with nowhere to lay your head?”

This is the question reentry service organization Redemption Housing is posing in its first ever Day One Challenge, a three-hour immersion into the experience of a person recently released from prison. Starting at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Center City, participants will be sent out into the city to experience what it’s like to find employment and educational opportunities, obtain a state ID, and find a place to sleep on their first day out of prison. Afterwards, they’re invited to regroup for reflection and discussion.

“If you haven’t experienced homelessness or incarceration, you might care about the issue,” said Nick Lordi, founder and executive director of Redemption Housing, which offers faith-based programming and support to Philadelphians coming out of incarceration and homelessness. “But you don’t have the understanding or knowledge of what it’s really like to reenter society.”

Redemption is partnering with other member organizations from the Philadelphia Reentry Coalition for the event; the$40 ticket fee will go directly to Redemption Housing operating costs.

Of the 10 largest cities in the nation, Philadelphia has the highest per-capita incarceration rate; one in every six people in the city have been incarcerated, according to The Reentry Project. Once released, there is little guidance for formerly incarcerated people, leaving many unsure about next steps and some forced to find financial standing the best way they know how.

“People think we’re lazy,” said Alex Delgado, a former inmate in a video to promote the Day One Challenge. “But when you have a family to feed and no one will hire you, the system sends you back to selling drugs.”

Delgado hopes to change the minds of people both participating in Saturday’s event and across the city. “I hope people see how hard it is so they can learn and eventually help other people who are coming out of prison,” he said.

As for Lordi, the challenge is just one step in a long journey for Redemption Housing. Right now, the organization’s first location in West Philadelphia can house up to three people who are suffering from homelessness. Soon, he hopes to grow it into a network of residences. “We want to surround our residents with a circle of support,” Lordi says. “I want to entrench ourselves in the community, wipe the stigma, and help advocate for the challenges these citizens face.” With donations and interest in the Day One Challenge, Lordi plans to have a new space up and running within the first week of October.

Without giving away too much of the itinerary for the Day One Challenge—the idea is for participants to be fully immersed without much prior knowledge—Lordi shares an example of what might unfold during the day:

When someone is released from prison, the first step might be to find a shelter. They may have been given the address, but the confusion arises when trying to find the location. For most people, typing in a few numbers and a street address is easy enough with a smartphone; but for those formerly incarcerated for weeks, months, or years, accessing these basic tools becomes nearly impossible. And then what? This is a question participants will be challenged to consider more closely.

While there are many obstacles on that first day, Lordi also wants participants to see all the organizations in Philadelphia doing great work for the city and gain the knowledge they need to get involved on their own. “They’ll be able to go back to their communities, share what they’ve learned, and be able to assist returning citizens in the future,” he says.

September 30th, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m., $40, meet at Tenth Presbyterian Church, 1701 Delancey Street. Register here.

Header photo: Pexels

The Philadelphia Citizen will only publish thoughtful, civil posts. We want to be a communal space. But that doesn’t mean you have a First Amendment right to be an idiot. Send us an insulting, offensive and/or wildly off-topic comment and not only will we refrain from posting it -- we will laugh at you before we hit delete.

Recent Tweets
@THEPHILACITIZEN

@thephilacitizen @@thephilacitizen
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Catch Philly's own Stan Pokras at The Art Room for a special workshop on galvanizing our communities. FRI,7-8:30, $5 https://t.co/ONV4Pzut6X 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Will the next election cycle drastically change HC? Citizen writer @ellisonreport discusses ACA on @onwurd today.… https://t.co/HU7tXdgBpl 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"Maher’s not just waging war on a 3 percent fee; he’s taking on the traditional home buying experience itself." https://t.co/2V4hbip7oI 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Discuss gentrification and more, this week. Our weekly Do Something guides are like the cheat codes to activism. https://t.co/IRBIxBKoYB 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
The CEO and co-founder of @Houwzer is challenging traditional home buying practices—while seeking to do good.… https://t.co/w0q6nCNZyg 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Last week, @Eagles defeated the @Panthers & All-Pro safety @MalcolmJenkins argued for cash bail reform. Read here. https://t.co/mQSUoDFrdR 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
The Wall of Action at our Civic Impact Birthday party last week was a huge success! Here's what you missed. https://t.co/5BALmBzcfm 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"Only about 10% of congressional house seats are now considered competitive, meaning either party might win them." https://t.co/ZXtTE32C54 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"Soda tax opponents suggested that those payments led the local NAACP to reverse opposition to the soda tax." https://t.co/zvwmQHyFYl 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"City education reformers should see this as a chance to start thinking about how to get the city’s act together" https://t.co/cjrNtkbJso 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
The Fellowship national convening of black educators conference runs through this Sunday. #Philly #staywoke https://t.co/jjjihuyVOm 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Monday, @MalcolmJenkins hosts the 4th Annual Blitz, Bow-Ties & Bourbon Fundraiser for the Young Dragons program. https://t.co/Gu1pzjFFKh 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"But it’s not just inmates whose lives are changed with these programs. The dogs’ lives are too." #Reentry https://t.co/Rems6kHY5x 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Our Civic Impact Birthday Party was catered by @Philabundance 's Community Kitchen. Learn more about them here. https://t.co/EzLvB3zE5v 

LOAD MORE

Be a Citizen Editor

Suggest a Story