The Draper and Kramer Montgomery 500 property management team led by Patricia Salinski has been widening horizons of the MBC staff regarding components and concerns of the property management field. After hosting a mind expanding tour of their building’s mechanical systems, Ms. Salinski introduced the staff to Tom Dobry, Executive Director of the SEIU Local 1 Training Fund. SEIU Local 1 represents a wide variety of building maintenance workers in the Chicago area. The Training Fund operates an educational center that helps Local 1 members obtain and upgrade their skills. Mr. Dobry hosted a tour for MBC staff and was able to pass on examples of the training materials that the center uses. He also shared his insights about the building maintenance field at the September meeting of the MBC Advisory Board.
For many years now, SLM has tracked recidivism rates for its residential programs. Typical recidivism rates for men into the third year out of prison are approximately 20%; rates for women are even lower at less than 5%. General population rates of return in Illinois are 50.3% for men and 33% for women. This year, staff at the Michael Barlow Center began tracking recidivism rates for their own program participants who are both residents of SLM’s programs and residents from the broader community. Upon review of MBC program participants who provided IDOC information, only 14% returned to prison in 2009; the rate decreased a bit for more recent MBC program participants. This analysis was completed by comparing the names of MBC participants over the past three years to the records found through the Inmate Search Function of the Illinois Department of Corrections database. While there is a margin of error for these statistics, they do suggest that MBC program participants are serious about building new lives for themselves and their families. Even in these very difficult economic times, individuals are making great strides.
Sister Eunice Drazba, OP, continues her volunteer efforts at St. Leonard’s Ministries as the Agency’s Archivist. She has gone through box after box and photo after photo to sort and label memorable – and sometimes not so memorable – documents and items of all kinds. Efforts have concentrated on preservation of all four sites as well as for SLM as a whole. The work is sometimes tedious, but it is often punctuated with moments of “Oh, remember this!” and “What ever became of the person in this photo?” Sister Eunice took many of the photos, but Sister Jean Hughes and Board Member, Lisa Ebright, are also well represented in the archives.
Fall is the time of year when SLM welcomes a new group of interns to various programs at all four of its program sites. This year, Northeastern Illinois University, with seven interns, and the Adler School of Professional Psychology, with six interns, are most heavily represented. The University of Illinois at Chicago, De Paul University, Columbia College, Wright College and the Career Tech Center all have one intern on campus. An Ignatian Volunteer, a Julian Volunteer and a Sister of St. Joseph Novice complete the professional intern/volunteer team for the next semester. All of these individuals provide valuable service provision extensions at SLM sites. Time spent with SLM populations is a valuable and often life-changing experience for the interns and program participants meet “the next generation.”
The Michael Barlow Center has held many Graduations for its Green Building Maintenance Classes. March 16th, however, was a very special celebration because of the commencement speaker. Dr. Alcus Cromartie, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, delivered challenging remarks for the graduates that were coupled with unique historical observations. In addition to serving in World War II, Dr. Cromartie spent a number of years with NASA, the National Aero Space Administration; his reflections included many stories about both of these engagements. Patricia Williams, Barlow Center Receptionist, met and struck up a conversation with Dr. Cromartie while she was on her way to work one day a few years ago. Patricia realized that she was in the presence of a very special person and developed a friendship with him. Participants and guests at the Graduation were all moved by Dr. Cromartie’s remarks and his generous presence with us.