The good people at SMUD care about the neighbors they serve. One way they show that is by offering support to further neighborhood clean-ups - something Freedom Through Education is passionate about too.
The SHINE grant enables us to continue doing our jobs making the neighbors proud to live near us in South Sacramento. We use the funds to buy safety equipment and other necessary tools for our men to use while working on clean up day once a month. The men who volunteer with us on that Saturday are treated to a nice BBQ with the staff as they revel in helping their neighbors appreciate where we all live. You've never seen a more grateful man than the one that is out of prison that can now use his hands to help his neighbors. SMUD and SHINE help make that possible!
Freedom Through Education expanded their services to include a much needed home for women. Located in the North Highlands area of Sacramento, it will house as many as six women and a house manager (and a few small children as needed).
"We have a vision for women that are in need - from those that have been incarcerated, those that may have been homeless, to those leaving destructive life choices," says Johnny Lujan - CEO.
Freedom Through Education hosts a celebration for the men (past and present) that have achieved milestones to rebuilding their lives with the tools we have provided has provided.
We want to recognize them in front of their families and support network. 7 men will be especially recognized for going above and beyond in three categories:
We are fond of doing service projects with our clients - many of whom like giving back to the community that surrounds them. Here are three slide shows of recent projects we think you will enjoy seeing. Our neighborhood clean-ups are monthly!
As the President, Bill Lane, Ph.D oversees the entire organization. He plays a key role in overseeing the budget, expansion, policies changes, works with various local, state and federal agencies, sits on several committees, organizes and network of local providers and stays involved with the clients to ensure the fidelity of the program. Bill also mentors the staff and facilitates a weekly staff meeting and training.
Dr. Lane is currently the President of Freedom Through Education, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving high-risk youth and adults with the services necessary to develop into successful men and women of society. Previously Dr. Lane was the Administrator for the Sacramento Community Based Coalition (SCBC) – a transition program for adults being paroled to Sacramento County from State prison. As a nationally recognized consultant and motivational speaker for high-risk youth and adults,
Bill has over 30 years background working with the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated adults and juveniles. Bill has an A.A. in Business Administration, a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies, a M.S. in Educational Administration and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration, with an emphasis in high-risk youth education and criminal delinquency.
Bill was a full-time teacher for the California Youth Authority and in 1995 transferred to San Quentin State Prison where he became the head of education. After leaving San Quentin, Bill worked for the California Department of Education as a program consultant for school districts, county offices of education, and juvenile justice programs throughout California for high-risk youth education. Bill has worked extensively with Local Education Agencies on collaborating with Probation and Community Based Organizations to develop the highest quality of educational services possible.
We think you will want to read the article in it's entirety.
"They sit in the circle, the man who exposed himself to at least 100 women, next to the man who molested his stepdaughter, across from the man who sexually assaulted his neighbor. The group includes Matt, whose online chats led to prison; Rob, who was arrested for statutory rape; and Kevin, who spent decades masturbating next to women in movie theaters."
At Freedom Through Education, we are privileged to work with some men that are like the ones this story refers to. Imagine living in a society where housing is hard to find for a normal person (there is a 6 month waiting list in Sacramento for apartments currently). Now add convicted ex felon onto that. It is now 8x harder to find a residence. And finally, add that your crime was a sex offense and that you are a registered sex offender. It just got near impossible to find a place to live.
Even if you complete our (or other) programs for reentry into society. Even if you have had no trouble with the law since being released. Even if you comply with parole conditions so well, they lower your risk assessment. And yes, even if historically there is little to no evidence nationally of recidivism for this type of crime. Even with all that going for you, society still treats you worse than all other ex offenders.
The link is below to the original full article. We offer it to help you understand some of the men we work with better. See what you think. And let's talk. We could use your help in changing the way these men are treated.
almostEliasar “Leo” Soria serves Freedom Through Education as an Alcohol and Other Drugs counselor/case-manager. For the 12 men residing at Munyer House he conducts individual screening and assessments, facilitating individual one on ones and leading the men in through group sessions.
He develops custom treatment plans and records progress notes, and other things to ensure clients follow their parole and treatment plans. This can lead to him modifying treatment activities and approaches for the men to comply with changes in their status.
Leo completed Foundations, Practices, Competence studies in 2010 at the California Association of Addiction Resources (CAARR). He also attended Braining Institute where he received his Registered Addiction Specialist (RAS) credential in 2012.
In his own words on why he took this career path:
I’m sharing a short story to give honor and glory to my Savior, Jesus Christ.
I’m recovering from childhood verbal and physical abuse which led me to be a long-time drug and alcohol abuser. My way of dealing with anger issues was using violence and staying high to numb my shame that I carried from my past. I got tired of going in and out of jail and finally lost my self-control to my addiction because I put it first, before my wife and two kids, almost sending me to prison for “great bodily harm to an individual”. As a result, my wife, understandably, wanted a divorce. By then I had a 12-year heroin and cocaine addiction that was taking my life.
My turning point was in March 1993 when I asked Jesus to help me out of my addiction and He did. The very next day I was delivered completely - no withdrawals whatsoever, which showed me Jesus was real and is why I’m a Christian today.
Today I am grateful to be working at Freedom Through Education with CDCR clients coming out of prison. Many struggle with addiction, others with shame and guilt from their past, and some clients grew up in dysfunctional homes that led to a lifetime of crime. I am privileged to see the men learn social skills, deal with self-control, reconnect with family and learn responsibilities (and more). I am blessed to fit in with this team at FTE so well.
Remember that banquet we had to raise funds for the new beds at our Freedom House USA Apartments? Here's a photo story of the event.
A year ago, KLOVE radio interviewed our founder, Dr. Bill Lane, for National Reentry Week. Bill explained what the problem our culture faces with men coming out of prison and what we do to combat that problem. It's a great listen if you click on the link to the audio at the bottom of page.
As the Director of Freedom House USA, Jason oversees the day to day operation for each living environment. He conducts the initial intake of the clients into their living arrangement, approves all residents for the Transitional Living Homes, submits all discharge paperwork, develops transition plans for all residents, facilitates groups and one-on-one sessions and carries a caseload of 18 men.
Born in 1955 and adopted to first generation Americans, Jonathan Todd Gottlieb, AKA “Jason”, was in trouble very early in life. Placed as a ward of the court at age 13, he was a constant resident of juvenile facilities, boy’s homes, ranches and the California Youth Authority. In 1980, he participated in the taking of a human life as an associate shot a man at his own home. Faced with the death penalty he pled nolo contendre and was sentenced to 17 years to life in state prison. As an indeterminately sentenced prisoner, Mr. Gottlieb worked hard to change himself and secure his parole and thus his liberty to become a constructive and positive citizen. After serving 25 years, 5 months and eight days he was paroled to southern California. His parole term was for five (5) years of which he did every single day successfully cooperating until an honorable discharge was given September 3, 2010. His Central file is now collecting dust in archives in Sacramento.
As a formerly incarcerated person, one of Gottlieb’s strengths is being able to recognize and dialogue with the many who are struggling with identity and coping with decision-making. Mr. Gottlieb, who has been clean and sober since 1987, thirty-one years to date, has the motivation and credibility to assist in the lives of at-risk individuals and people suffering from the disease of addiction along with the cycle of incarceration. As part of his journey to freedom, the Board of Paroles granted Mr. Gottlieb parole four (4) consecutive times, at the time the only such case in California correctional history. Governor Schwarzenegger ultimately affirmed the fourth parole decision on July 26, 2005. Mr. Gottlieb’s wealth of experience in the correctional system enables him to communicate a unique perspective of the road from incarceration to rehabilitation.
Mr. Gottlieb is now employed at Freedom Through Education as a Director of all Freedom House USA properties. Along with this he provides clinical work as he facilitates curriculum on such topics as Male Accountability, The Male Role Belief System, Re-entry and Socialization, Life Skills, Addictions and Violence Prevention. The many participants who attend his presentational sessions view these sessions as a vehicle to attaining an insight into who they are, where they are and where they dream to go. Having committed himself to the goal of attaining maturity and self-empowerment following entry into the California prison system at age 24, Mr. Gottlieb demonstrates that the incarcerated can make meaningful and lasting changes. An individual’s focus on goal setting and having a no-compromise attitude concerning integrity lends credence to sobriety, educational achievements and liberties of the mind. Attaining the wherewithal to be able to discuss and confront one’s own checkered past in a humble and accepting way toward contrition and amends making follows a time-tested path of forgiveness and enlightenment. “Change is possible” is Mr. Gottlieb’s message of hope. Jason Gottlieb now resides out in the community of Elk Grove, California with his wife Denise.