HOW WE SERVE:
Lifeline is a safe, inspirational place for participants—we call them Team Members. Leading it all is a person who has lived what they are living and has successfully reintegrated. Founder and executive director DeAndre Brown served 25 months in prison for identity theft and bank fraud charges.
“When I got arrested I was wanted by the City of Memphis, Shelby County the State of Tennessee and the United States of America,” DeAndre says. “But now I have contracts with Memphis, Shelby County and the State of Tennessee. And we’re working on the United States of America.”
Lifeline is not a job placement program for convicted felons, but a program for life transformation. For many Team Members, Lifeline is a multi-year process.
There are three programs—The Institute, Junior Blight Patrol and After-School Drop-in.
The Institute is Lifeline’s primary program, receiving most of its resources. The core of the Institute curriculum is three to four hours of daily classroom instruction and interactive discussion on a variety of topics including anger management and conflict resolution.
Beyond the classroom, the Institute provides Team Members with a comprehensive list of opportunities to engage:
• Faith-based counsel and fellowship
• Playback Memphis – A theatrical storytelling program which allows the members to share their lives with each other and creates empathy between members and police officers
• Community engagement, such as anti-violence marches, block parties, and other community events such as memorializing fallen officers
• Referrals are made to other programs when participants seem likely to success in those program atmospheres and when the programs are high quality (example, GED program at HopeWorks)
• Pathways to employment
• Blight Patrol – prior to graduation, Team Members volunteer with the Blight Patrol, a landscape maintenance program focused on cleaning up in Frayser. After graduation, they are eligible for paid participation.
• Lifeline Services is a for-profit entity with multiple contracts for landscape maintenance and janitorial services. After Blight Patrol, members are eligible to apply to work for Lifeline Services
• Members who are not well suited for Blight Patrol work for After School Drop-In, first as volunteers then as paid employees.
Team Members complete their Institute training in one of two ways. Ambassadors, on average, spend 8 months in the program and must complete a minimum of 144 hours of participation. Accelerators enter further along in their transformation and move quickly through the curriculum, and depart within a few months.
For those who have achieved high success and demonstrate an ability to model and lead, the Fellows program provides an intensive path for continued growth and giving back to new Team Members.
JUNIOR BLIGHT PATROL
The Junior Blight Patrol is comprised of teenagers who assist staff and Team Members in running the After School Drop In and work alongside members of the Blight Patrol doing summer work and planning community events.
AFTER SCHOOL DROP-IN
Staffed by Institute and Junior Blight Patrol members, the After School Drop In program is in the process of being further formalized. Currently, youth drop into the LL building after school and receive snacks and homework help.