The Rubicon Rangers: Inspiration at the Reentry Success Center

By Sandy Chung July 23, 2018

This colorful mural displayed at the Reentry Success Center symbolizes the reentering population of Contra Costa County. The leaves of the tree signify its members’ success. The whole piece presents transition and transformation.

The "Rubicon Rangers" series is a first-person account of Rubicon's intern experience, authored by the interns, Jessica, Sandy and Justin, themselves.

In a word, Rubicon Programs' Reentry Success Center provides guidance, the type of guidance that will make you feel like you have a new lease on life.

Participants in the Center’s 8-week program receive hand-tailored guidance as they work to get reacquainted to life in the community after an experience with the justice system.

At the Center, everyone works intentionally towards the goal of building a better future. Its staff works to break down negative thoughts and raise participants self-esteem, so that participants can gain new motivation that will drive their efforts to accomplish a realistic goal, like getting a good job or getting back in touch with family. Every individual has varying needs that must be met in order for them to reenter society successfully after spending time in the prison system.

When the Rubicon Rangers team of interns walked into the Center, we were first struck by how quiet the environment was. The surroundings were so peaceful that all you could hear were the leaves in the wind outside and the humming of the water dispenser. The space had a distinct startup feel, with open work spaces and modern trimmings.

This tranquility was soon punctured by Dameion, one of the Center’s Reentry Coaches, who walked out with a friendly smile across his face, greeting each participant with a fist bump. Everyone felt welcome and appreciated.

Later, we discovered that the quiet environment is a good sign – it means people are out throughout the Bay Area making appointments or going on a job interview.

A​s a referral agency and reentry service hub, the Center accepts 15 participants every “ALPHA” cohort. The quality of care is significant – the program focuses in on 8 domains which include everything from financial planning to health and wellness. The ALPHA program is only one aspect of the center while there are other types of services offered, including commute support and other resources.

“Some people stay in hell because they are familiar with the streets,” Dameion explained.  “Many people return to a life of crime because that is the easy way out”.

His main goal is to get members to use the skills they acquired in their former life of crime and channel them in a positive way. Using the power of encouragement, he motivates others to push their boundaries and take chances. He hopes to get the reentry resident to be the best they possibly can be and makes sure their action matches their ambition.

The coaches truly want to help every step of the way. To help incentivize each incremental step towards progress, they reward participants 50 dollars each week.

Accomplishments aren’t always earned throughout a lifetime. Continual progress can make life more satisfying.

Today, we got a preview of how a better future is built: one little accomplishment at a time. We’re excited to see what’s next for each of the Center’s participants thanks to this newly acquired growth mindset.

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