While I know this has been a crazy week with Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday and the Presidential Inauguration today….I find my mind somewhere else. Each week I try to find a theme for Charity Matters and Martin Luther King Jr.’s question of,” What are you doing for others?” This has become my mantra for the week, that common thread of service.
Really, more than that, I am fascinated with people’s journeys to serve. On Wednesday, it was the story of InsideOUTWriters and Sr. Janet’s program for incarcerated youths in juvenile hall. But what happens when one person’s service inspires another? The goodness is contagious.
That is exactly what happened to Scott Budnick. In 2003, he was asked by a friend to attend a writing workshop through the InsideOUTWriters program. Scott is the infamous producer of The HangOver movies, a Hollywood producer and man who had no idea that his life was about to change. His first trip to juvenile hall, to mentor incarcerated youths, changed everything.
Scott not only committed to mentoring incarcerated youths (which he still does) but he took it so much farther when he realized that these young men and women had a 54% recidivism (going back to jail) rate and decided to do something about it.
He decided to start a non-profit called ARC to change that statistic, one youth at a time by providing the support, mentoring, education, housing, employment and guidance needed to make the transition out of prison a final one.
Today, ARC serves more than 300 formerly incarcerated men and women, who commit to living crime-free, drug-free and gang-free and dedicate themselves to being of service to their community and paying it forward to others in the ARC network.
One man, one moment volunteering and now Scott Budnick is a non-profit founder, who has taken on prison reform, mentored hundreds of young men and women, transformed their lives, the prison system and less than five percent of his kids ever go back. They only go forward passing that torch of service that Sr. Janet ignited in him, to others.
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