Because of the availability of TIAR’s Poverty Video and workbooks, we are now using these resources to carry out a program to educate the general public, including religious groups, about the problems of poverty in the Rochester area and ways to get involved in addressing it.

Sr. Gratia L’Esperance coordinates our reconstituted Task Force to take on this task.  She has several volunteers who are acquainted with the video (now a DVD) and other resources, and are a prepared cadre of speakers.  However, an effort like this needs audiences to hear the message and be motivated to take action.

TIAR is offering to any community group the opportunity to schedule an informative and enlightening presentation on poverty issues in Rochester. This free program is composed of the 28-minute DVD, "The Faces of Poverty: Not Just Faces, But Our Neighbors." It puts real faces on poverty, and is accompanied by a knowledgeable group discussion leader. Appropriate handouts will be available including a list of Volunteer Opportunities to provide suggestions for involvement.

The purpose of the presentation (one hour with discussion) is to help educate the community about the realities of poverty in Monroe County, raising such questions as, “If you had a sudden large unexpected expense next month, and your funds could not cover all the needs for housing, transportation, child care, health care, food, and clothing, where would you turn? Which would you choose to do without?”

Anyone interested in participating in this effort – whether a member of TIAR or not, or whether as a trained presenter or to schedule a presentation – is welcome to contact Sr. Gratia at gratia.lesperance@frontiernet.net. To be put on TIAR’s e-mail list to be notified of activities dealing with poverty issues, send an e-mal request to njaschik@rochester.rr.com.

Two other significant activities under the Poverty Task Force are the Coalition for a Dignified Burial and the Monroe County Reentry Task Force.

Coalition for Dignified Burial

TIAR has supported the efforts of the Coalition for Dignified Burial to give all people - no matter what creed, color, sex or financial situation - access to a simple, decent and respectful funeral.

An Unexpected Gift:  In December, 2006, a donation was made to TIAR from the proceeds of a concert by a musical artist as a special memorial to her deceased father. Her gift was a most creative way of memorializing him, and we are blessed to have people like her making a difference in our troubled world. It was a great honor for us to be entrusted with it; however, TIAR has since used all the funds to assist persons in need, and so is not currently accepting requests.  This effort has now been taken over by the Faith in Action Network.

Monroe County Reentry Task Force

Here in Monroe County, more than 2,500 people are released from incarceration every year. Without help, about two-thirds of them will return to prison within three years, at a cost of about $35,000 a year per person; prison, for most people, is an expensive and ineffective deterrent to crime. 

“Blasting through obstacles.”

“Blasting through obstacles.”

What’s this got to do with you?  Maybe more than you think.  In the U.S., we incarcerate people at about eight times the world average—in our country, more than 2 million people are in state prison, 70,000 in New York alone, and that doesn’t include county jails or federal holding centers.  Most people are incarcerated for non-violent offenses.  It is very likely that someone close to you will be touched by the corrections system.  Of everyone who goes to prison about 97% return home, regardless of their crime.  At that point, the community ex-offenders return to has a vested interest in each releasee’s success.

A safe, stable place to live, food, health care, and jobs are just the beginning.  The most important gift we can give them is hope, a reason to live and the sure knowledge that they have what they need to overcome the past and find their true future. And success does happen!  The result: lower crime rates, safer neighborhoods, healthier families, and lower costs for all of us.

For more information, please contact:
Ann Graham
Monroe County Reentry Task Force
Catholic Family Center
1645 St. Paul Street
Rochester, New York 14621
585-546-7220  Ext. 4501

The Monroe County Reentry Task Force is a program funded in nine counties across New York by the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services, Monroe County, and Catholic Family Center.  It represents an unprecedented level of cooperation between corrections, law enforcement, service providers and faith-based groups to enhance the safety of our community by working together to stabilize the lives of people leaving prison and giving them the tools and support they need to succeed.

August, 2013