How Small Oklahoma City Program Tries To Turn Felons Around


An Oklahoma City program called Made Aware Now 101 (M.A.N. 101), started in 2010, seeks to remake troubled men from the ground up, turning them into mentors and community leaders rather than thugs and criminals, The Oklahoman reports. “They've taught me how to read real good, and showed me places,” says one participant. “They didn't look at me different. They treated me like a person.” The program has four permanent volunteers who donate at least 20 hours of their time a week. It is privately funded, but accepts donations.

“It's just a small coalition of people who are operating at a grassroots level,” said director Elijah Malachi X Mothershed Bey. There are 11 people who are in the program by court order and more than two dozen men enrolled who just want to educate and strengthen themselves. The program not only offers classes ranging from financial responsibility to art therapy, but also works to place felons with more than 300 companies in Oklahoma City that are willing to give felons a second chance. The cost of the program is $25 per week, but financial arrangements can be made.

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