The Taylor Street Parolee Services Center, a residential reentry center in San Francisco, engages in several community initiatives around the city to help its participants — many of whom are long-term offenders returning to community life after decades incarcerated — learn the value of contributing to society in a positive way and have the chance to feel needed and as though they’re valuable members of the community.
In 2017, the Taylor Street Parolee Services Center, operated by GEO Reentry Services, extended its community outreach efforts to numerous neighborhoods, citizens and local organizations. Here are the highlights of their initiatives for the year:
City Clean Team
Every month in 2017, anywhere from 20 to 40 participants from Taylor Street Parolee Services Center volunteered for San Francisco’s Community Clean Team, which relies on volunteers from the community to clean a different neighborhood every month. The volunteers not only removed trash from neighborhood streets, but also engaged in landscaping and gardening beautification efforts and removed graffiti. This was the center’s third year participating in the program.
Serving Community Members
Taylor Street Parolee Services Center focused on meeting community members’ individual needs as well. Volunteers from the center served food to the homeless at St. Anthony’s, a local organization that works to feed, clothe and heal San Franciscans in need. Participants also distributed sack lunches to the hungry every Saturday. Additionally, they partnered with Glide Memorial Church to make harm-reduction kits for community members struggling with drug abuse.
Several participants from the Taylor Street Parolee Services Center engaged in individual volunteer activities as well. A handful of men spent their time with local children through United Playaz, a San Francisco-based violence prevention and youth development organization. The men accompanied youth on field trips, helped them with their homework and engaged in positive, healthy after-school activities with them. To support the participants’ efforts, the center held its Second Annual Toy Drive for United Playaz and received more than 100 toys to donate to children from the organization. Most of the donations came from Taylor Street participants and staff.
While working at San Francisco’s Pit Stop program, which pays ex-offenders to clean public toilets, used-needle receptacles and dog-waste stations at parks in high-risk areas around the city, two long-term offenders from the center stopped an armed robbery. One of the men, Marcus P., was recognized by former Mayor Ed Lee for his heroic act. In addition, Marcus was recognized by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for monitoring a Pit Stop in a local park and taking advantage of the opportunity to make the park safer for children and residents in the community. Additionally, he received recognition from the principal of an elementary school next to the park for his efforts. You can read more about the Pit Stop program here.