Executive Director Priscilla Turgon spoke at the Reentry Simulation co-sponsored by the Delaware State University Dept. of Sociology and Criminal Justice and State Representative James Johnson on November 2, 2017. Representatives, Senators and staff from the Delaware Legislature and other interested groups participated in activities that simulated a month in the life of someone recently released from prison. The simulation, facilitated by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Delaware, provided participants a better understanding of the challenges faced by individuals re-entering the community. New Start graduates Brady Couch and Sebastian Corbin shared their re-entry challenges and successes following participation in the New Start program.
The following is an excerpt from a Delaware Online article featuring Project New Start:
'Black Panther' hero 'looks like me'
"This is just a way to get close to the community, to get the community closer to me and just bridge the gap," said Boddy-Calhoun, who rented the theater out for Monday's viewing. Another 120 people will see the blockbuster on Tuesday.
Boddy-Calhoun, a Delcastle Technical High School graduate, said the movie gives a sense of voice to those who don't always feel they have it.
Boddy-Calhoun and Project New Start expect to do more than show the movie to the children, several of whom saw the film because they participate in programs at different Wilmington community centers including Kingswood, William "Hicks" Anderson and Reeds' Refuge Center.
"Through a long-term mentoring partnership with various youth organization, we have an interactive presentation prepared for the young people that attend," said Brian Alleyne, a board member of Project New Start, a job-readiness program for offenders transitioning out of prison.
"The presentation will reinforce various scenes from the movie and introduce new concepts," Alleyne said. "The purpose is to have young people engage more thoughtfully with the film and how it relates to their culture."
Alleyne, a friend and mentor to Boddy-Calhoun, said the follow-up sessions will take place in the coming weeks with hopes of pulling examples from the movie that will inspire them to want to do more. He pointed to the 1976 "Rocky" film that inspired many people he knows to push to be better.
"Whatever we can use to pull this out of the young people ... that's what we're looking to do," he said.
Priscilla Turgon, Project New Start's executive director, said the most important message she wants youth attending the Monday and Tuesday shows is that someone cares about them.
"Just to see that people care enough about them to give them an opportunity to come out and have fun," she said. "Everybody has value, and when people understand that, I think they raise to be their better self."