NEW BRITAIN – Dana Smith and Char’Dornne Bussue are hoping to show residents that there is help for those who are recently released from incarceration with a “New Britain Day of Service” Monday.
Smith, a local pastor and a community advocate with Advocacy Unlimited, and Bussue, who also works for Advocacy Unlimited, will be showcasing the efforts of Greater New Britain Re-Entry Roundtable during the state’s “Second Chance Month” by cleaning up Walnut Hill Park and moving down West Main Street toward City Hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Along the way, Smith and Bussue, the co-chairs of the Rountable, will hand out cards and talk about the resources available for people who have recently done a period of incarceration and need help getting their lives back on track.
“People who just got out need IDs (identification), bus passes, help with how to do job interviews, food, clothing, and housing,” Smith said. “We’re trying to plug the holes and hopefully we can get other agencies involved.”
Many times, people are dropped off in the center of town after incarceration with no skills and no support, including how to fit back in with family after a long separation, he said. The goal of the Roundtable is to provide that much-needed support in order to help people lives productive lives, he added.
“We are trying to provide resources and information for them,” Bussue said. “For some people this will be an opportunity to gain community hours which they need to do.”
The Roundtable, sponsored by Advocacy Unlimited, an agency which provides mental health and substance abuse programming, is working on providing everything from help with basic needs to vocational training and job resources for those who have been recently incarcerated and support for their families, Bussue said. “We want to find businesses who will people with a record and places where they can learn a trade or learn how to start a business,” she said.
The “New Britain Day of Service” event is a precursor to Wednesday’s Connecticut Re-Entry Reform Day at the State Capitol which will include speakers, panel discussions, tours of the Capitol building and voter registration to highlight the need for services for those re-entering the community after incarceration.
For more information on Monday’s “New Britain Day of Service,” contact Smith at Dsmith@advocacyunlimited.org or Bussue at Cbussue@advocacyunlimited.org. More information on re-entry programs or Connecticut Re-Entry Reform Day can be found at www.ctreentry.org .