Moving Communities Forward with Cultivate, Inc.

Posted on Wednesday, May 8th, 2019 by
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Cultivate, Inc. is a relatively new organization making a big impact in the metro area. Their programming provides an opportunity to those who’ve been incarcerated or had criminal charges brought against them, as well as local families.

“Over 60 percent of adults who leave the Johnson County Adult Residential Center become residents. What we’ve found is that those who complete programs like ours are 40 to 50 percent less likely to commit new crimes. We are investing in not only these individuals, but also our neighborhoods and communities,” said Lee Jost, Executive Director and Instructor, Cultivate, Inc.

They currently provide three programs to individuals locally:

  1. Strengthening Families: This program introduces at risk families into supportive, pro-social community relationships. SFP is nationally and internationally recognized, and by using evidence-based training, they are able to improve parenting skills and family relationships and reduce problem behaviors, such as delinquency or alcohol and drug abuse in children.
  2. College of Trades: It started in 2013 as a welding training program in partnership with Wright Welding, LLC, but has grown its offerings over the years. Now, the program provides incarcerated adults the opportunity to gain technical skills and certificates for in-demand trades, while also learning and applying life skills for integration into work and everyday life environments.
  3. Discovery for Teens: This program is the organization’s newest. It was piloted in 2018. Discovery works with Johnson County youth who have criminal charges, helping them discover their personal work interests, set goals for what they want in life, and name the values that will help them attain these goals.

These programs can mean anything from certifications or trainings to access to college for participants. For many, it translates to two important things – good jobs and a livable wage. But, it also offers another invaluable benefit.

“These programs and services come with a number of advantages, but there is one we feel is incredibly important. It’s the creation of a positive system of support. Participants have mentors, instructors, admissions counselors, etc. whom they can reach out to when they need help navigating an issue. Having those resources helps them continue to grow long after they’ve graduated,” said Jost.

These programs overlap in some ways with an organization we’ve supported for years, reStart. Along with numerous services, they offer transitional living for those ages 18-22 who have aged out of foster care or been kicked out of their houses. Their needs for education and employment are often met by Cultivate, Inc. In fact, we recently donated retired computers that could be used for job searches, online classes, and enrollment. We also helped move an individual out of reStart housing into her first apartment.

There are a number of ways to get involved with Cultivate, Inc. You can start by visiting their website and sending them an email. In addition, they are always looking for:

  • Businesses who will give program participants the opportunity to be fairly hired.
  • Trending careers for which they could offer training.
  • Volunteers to provide home cooked meals to their Strengthening Families meetings.
  • Mentors.
  • Creative photography instructors or retired professors to teach life skills classes.

We’d love to know. How do you give back? Do you have a favorite organization we should check out next? Share your ideas with #AffinisGivesBack.

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