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Malcolm Jenkins' Criminal Justice Season: Frontline Dads, Inc.

"There are currently 2.7 million children in the United States with a parent in prison. Statistics show that those children have twice the risk for developing dysfunctional problems, like depression, drug use, or criminal activity.

During our Listen & Learn tour in September we met with inspiring individuals who have created organizations to help youth and their families, and I want to introduce you to two of them over the next two weeks.

Frontline Dads, Inc. is a mentoring program for children ages 12 to 17 who come from challenged backgrounds and aspire to greatness. Frontline Dads provides leadership development training, cultural/educational programs and prevention/intervention services for youth and their families throughout Philadelphia and Montgomery counties.

Committed to rebuilding communities, Founder and Executive Director Reuben Jones has been a force in Philadelphia, whether by helping formerly incarcerated individuals receive parenting workshops, gain employment upon their re-entry, or break the cycle of intergenerational incarceration through his innovative curriculum. He has seen results, and is on a mission to bring solutions to youth who have been disenfranchised from educational and economic advancement due to lack of opportunity.

Frontline Dads’ program is comprehensive, and it includes academic tutoring, life skills (critical thinking, goal setting, conflict resolution), counseling, college tours and one-on-one mentoring, among other offerings. By being given direct support, these young people are empowered to make educated decisions about their lives; many chose to pursue an education regardless of their circumstances or surroundings.

Through Jones’ mentoring program, Frontline Dads has served 5,000 youth and families in some of Philly’s highest-risk neighborhoods and have seen reduced juvenile recidivism, school truancy, dropout and school suspension rates. Frontline Dads has helped increase school attendance, improve grades and increase social and cultural awareness. Many of those who have gone through the program report experiencing improved self-esteem.

Formerly incarcerated himself, Reuben served 15 years in prison for a robbery and was released in 2002. Since then, he obtained his Master’s Degree from Lincoln University and received his certification as a clinical therapist. He is a shining example of someone who not only turned his life around, but has dedicated himself to helping others make better choices."

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