At Concordance, we take great pride in delivering innovative, evidence-informed interventions in service to our mission to drastically reduce reincarceration rates. Part of our treatment approach is rooted in contingency management which provides tangible rewards to participants to reinforce positive behaviors such as abstinence, persistence, and job retention. This is an integral part of our healing first re-entry model which operationalizes the integration of twelve services under one roof to stabilize participants as they gradually assimilate back into the home, community, and workplace through carefully designed service phases.
As participants progress through each phase of our program, they are recognized for their accomplishments along the way, whether it is a shout-out at our family suppers among their families and peers, honoring them with certificates of completion for moving from phase to phase, or tickets to our much-anticipated weekly raffles. The most anticipated celebration we hold for our participants is our annual Recognition Ceremony. This ceremony is the culmination of this approach where we honor graduates who have completed our rigorous 18-month program. We also celebrate those participants who completed our intensive outpatient program, workplace simulation, and part-time employment.
For most participants, the opportunity to participate in a festive ceremony — marked by the wearing of academic regalia and marching to the sound of pomp-and-circumstance — is the first time they have been honored for such an achievement. It takes immense resilience and grit to complete a program spanning pre-and post-release, requiring completion of over 500 hours of behavioral health and wellness interventions, as well as skill development, career coaching, and more. Our program has more contact hours than is required to achieve a degree! That is a reason to celebrate, especially when you understand that justice-involved adults show up with an intense history of chronic trauma which leads to co-occurring challenges of substance-use disorder, mental health challenges, as well as low academic and workplace performance.
The Concordance Recognition Ceremony is the time when our participants’ loved ones coalesce with Concordance team members and community partners to offer our highest and most heartfelt commendations. This year we had the distinct privilege to honor 70 participants, including 23 program graduates. To say the room was electric with fellowship, excitement, and love is an understatement – you had to be there to feel the vibe. All you could hear throughout the event were common refrains like “Congratulations,” “Job well done,” “This was all you,” and “We are soproud of you.” We also heard program graduates joyfully exclaiming “I could not have done this without you,” “I am living my best life,” and “Please tell me how I can come back and help others.”
Our eyes were teary, and our hearts were full because we know our honorees are well on the way to living joyful, abundant, and purposeful lives thanks to their own resilience and commitment to Concordance’s holistic, integrated and evidence-informed re-entry program. Check out the highlight video from this year’s Recognition Ceremony below.