News and Updates from Serving USA



I am pleased to introduce you to one of our featured partners for the month of February, Community Solutions. It is a rare opportunity to be able to invest and partner on a groundbreaking and innovative project that could have such far-reaching impact and consequences.

We chose to fund this project in the hopes that it would prove to be effective in changing the lives of some of the most challenging ex-offenders and those most at risk for reoffending and contributing to our extremely high recidivism rate in the State of California. All indications are that it is clearly having a transformational impact and we have been very pleased with our investment and the results to date. The potential to scale this program to reach thousands in the future has us extremely excited.
California natives, Tom & Kelly Chronister are the newest additions to the Serving USA team. Serving as lodge caretakers at the beautiful SkyRose Ranch, they will work with the Mighty Oaks Foundation as they facilitate their Legacy Programs in California.
In this episode of the Mighty Oaks Show, Chad Robichaux and Jeremy Stalnecker discuss the hot button issue of gender identity in the military and toxic masculinity. Jeremy also interviews Jon Lowry from Serving USA.
Saint John's hosted their first Guest Chef Dinner of 2019 on February 7th. The meal was prepared and served by graduates of the program who have gone on to have successful careers in the restaurant business. Learn more about this magical night, and the great work of Saint John's, here.
On February 23rd, join Two Wings as they celebrate their 2018 Qualified Academy Graduates. Look forward to shared heartwarming stories and inspiring musical performances.
This year they are honoring the talented Amanda Jane Cooper from the hit Broadway show, WICKED, with the Ambassador of HOPE award and one Courageous graduate with the Ambassador of COURAGE award. Register here.

Two Wings empowers survivors of sex trafficking to identify and pursue their dream 
vocation through mentoring programs, life skills classes and career training workshops, creating the path for a life of financial and physical independence.
 On March 22nd, join Marjaree Mason Center in celebrating Marjaree's birthday with an enchanted evening of under the sea adventures.
Featuring dueling pianos, delicious food, fine wine, and cocktails, this will be a night to remember. Hurry and purchase tickets for this amazing event, here.
Marjaree Mason Center supports and empowers adults and their children affected by domestic violence while striving to prevent and end the cycle of abuse through education and advocacy.
On Saturday, March 30th, Forgotten Children, Inc. will host its 3rd Annual Fundraising Gala at the SeaCliff Country Club in Huntington Beach, CA.
You'll have an opportunity to join more than 200 people for an evening of networking, engaging, and you'll meet survivors of human trafficking that have been directly impacted by our resources and services.

There's still time to sponsor your own table or purchase a ticket. For more information, click here

Forgotten Children, Inc. is committed to assisting women and children caught in the vicious cycle of human trafficking in our communities. They operate on a local and state level with a hands-on approach to reaching out to women and children on the street along with those involved in human trafficking or sex trades.
Neurofeedback Recidivism Reduction Project

Neurofeedback training, a tool provided by the neuroscience revolution, is improving lives of formerly incarcerated persons and may significantly reduce recidivism.

Community Solutions, Inc. (CSI), in collaboration with the Wuttke Institute for Neurotherapy, is conducting the Neurofeedback Recidivism Reduction Project.  The 4-year, 360-person, randomized control study is measuring the efficacy of the most advanced form of neurofeedback (LORETA z-score training) in reducing recidivism of high-risk-to-reoffend clients.  The Project is being implemented through two Santa Barbara County California Parolee Day Reporting Centers (DRCs) and is currently funded by Serving USA, the James S. Bower Foundation and the Santa Barbara Foundation.
Wuttke Institute Neurofeedback technician Raymond Fear (standing) is placing an EEG cap on a client.  He puts gel into the cap to ensure contact is made between the sensors and the skull for accurate measurement of brain waves.
Parolee volunteers are randomly assigned to either a control group or a neurofeedback intervention group.  While both groups receive the standard DRC evidence-based programs, only the intervention group receives neurofeedback training.  

One-year recidivism data provided by California’s Office of Attorney General will be used to compare recidivism of the two groups.  The Project results are being evaluated and documented by a team of researchers from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at California State University at Long Beach.  

Michael Heck, CSI State Project Director, states,

“We find many Day Reporting Center clients have cognitive and emotional problems limiting their ability to effectively participate in our evidence-based interventions. These problems manifest themselves as ADHD, PTSD, anger, sleep disorder, addiction, anxiety, impulse control, and depression.”

How does neurofeedback work?
In scientific, peer-reviewed studies, neurofeedback training, a non-invasive intervention, has been shown to address and ameliorate all of these conditions.  With over 35 years of experience in the field of neurotherapy A. Martin Wuttke, founder and CEO of the Wuttke Institute of Neurotherapy, oversees the neurofeedback intervention.  He describes the process:  

“Using a 19-channel EEG we record and analyze brain activity and compare it to a normative database.  Our advanced software identifies where and how much a client’s brain activity is deviant from the norm.  Then neurofeedback training monitors this deviant activity and enables the client to train his brain to move towards the norm.”

Wuttke continues, “Often trauma, whether originating from childhood development trauma, adult event-driven trauma or traumatic brain injury, locks the brain into a “fight or flight” mode.  The rational cortex is taken hostage by the reptilian or limbic level of the brain.  Neurofeedback allows a client to decouple this maladaptive connection and move towards normal functioning.”

According to Rick Roney, Project Director, the project is starting its second year.  

“While we don’t have recidivism measurements yet, strong anecdotal evidence shows neurofeedback is a highly successful intervention.”
A Neurofeedback Training session in progress:  The Neurofeedback system is measuring brain waves that are being trained in this session.  When the brain waves achieve the goal for the session, the client (and his brain) are visually rewarded on the TV monitor by having the movie switch from black and white to color. The brain then learns how to regulate itself to normal activity. The Neurofeedback training process takes 40 forty-minute sessions.
One of the project’s early clients confirms this with his experience.  

“I’m 35 years old and have spent 15+ years in prison.  When I was 13 years old, I became very anxious.  I self-medicated and became an addict.  Things went bad and I ended up in prison.  When I got out this time, I still had high anxiety.  I was unable to get on a bus in the morning to go to work.  A doctor wanted to give me pills but I’m an addict and I didn’t want to take any more pills.  When neurofeedback became available, I immediately signed up.  Today I feel totally calm.  I am enrolled in Santa Barbara City College, getting great grades and was recently elected President of the EOPS Club at school.”

Sherry Albert, Chief Operating Officer of Community Solutions, Inc., summarizes the Project,

“If Neurofeedback can significantly reduce recidivism, we can have a very positive impact on people’s lives, save enormous amounts of money in the criminal justice system and simultaneously increase public safety.”

For more information, contact Rick Roney, Project Director,
Brain maps of a client “before” and “after” 20 sessions of neurofeedback.  Orange and red indicate brain wave frequencies 2 and 3 standard deviations above normal.  Dark and light blue are indicative of 2 or 3 sigma below normal.  In this case, the client has “unlocked” the connection between the reptilian brain and the frontal cortex, shown by the change in the individual’s high beta amplitude and coherence.
Goodwill Wyoming serves the entire Cowboy State with numerous programs for the communities that give hope and new independence to many.  Goodwill Wyoming focuses on those with disabilities, children and youth in out of home care, and families of those incarcerated.  
Goodwill Wyoming is unique in its ability to meet the needs of the community and fill in service gaps. For 51 years the agency has been building programs and services to provide employment and day services for people with disabilities, support people with disabilities to remain in their homes, help youth transition from foster care to independent living and help find permanent homes for children.
In the last few years, Goodwill Wyoming has extended services to include those impacted by loved ones in incarceration through our Kids of Incarcerated Parents Program (KIPP).  KIPP serves not only the children of incarcerated parents but also the caregivers by providing support and resources.

The newest program is Reentry PLUS to aid releasing offenders’ with financial assistance to meet their basic needs. This will reduce the impact on communities to include decreasing homelessness and opportunities for new crimes while increasing access to medical needs, education, employment, family connections and ultimately to achieve self-sufficiency.
Goodwill is typically known just for their retail stores and oftentimes people are unaware of the depth of services that are provided.  Last year, Goodwill Wyoming served over 8,000 people in Wyoming which is important because we only have about 570,000 people in the entire state!  

Even more exciting, Goodwill Wyoming paid for over 37,000 hours of full wage rates to those with disabilities allowing them to achieve their goals and be part of the community.  

Last year Goodwill of Wyoming received our first year of funding from Serving USA for our Reentry Plus program.  During the year Goodwill was able to assist a number of individuals with funds to provide or maintain housing, purchase of employment equipment, medical procedures and assessments, and other services.  

Just a few examples of what was provided with the grant included:
  • A bike for an individual who was then able to attend an interview and obtain employment as a welder.  
  • A car for a gentleman who could then maintain his employment, attend activities on the reservation, maintain his employment and attend AA/NA meetings.  
  • We provided rent for a man who had fallen and broken his hip and was unable to work preventing homelessness.  A married couple were both working but could not afford child care.  
  • The grant paid for the children to attend the Boys and Girls Club after school allowing both parents to continue working.  
  • We bought fireproof boots and clothing for a person so he could obtain employment as a heavy equipment operator.  
  • Another individual was provided with a laptop so that she could complete court-ordered GED classes while working.  
  • We’ve also paid for housing for a number of individuals which enabled them to establish a safe living environment and be reunited with their children who had been in state care facilities and homes.
  • Finally, the grant from Serving USA enabled us to provide funds for dental work, medical tests and critical assessments that allowed folks to obtain drug and alcohol treatment.  
All in all, we feel that the funds from Serving USA helped Wyoming citizens move more successfully back into society from incarceration and preserved dignity and productivity for a population that struggles with both. We look forward to continued partnership with Serving USA and are grateful for the opportunity to work with a population that is in need of services and hope.

You can help us continue to provide funding to our deserving partner organizations and increase the reach their work is having on families and communities.

Every donation received will be matched dollar for dollar!

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23823 Malibu Road, Ste. 50398
Malibu, CA 90265

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