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Audio Transcript: Center for Community Alternatives Wrap
By Alazia Williams SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)— Since 1981, the Center for Community Alternatives has served the community as an outlet for youth and adults in their to transition back into everyday life after prison. They also help prevent young people from getting to that point.
CCA is a human service not for profit organization that focus’ on health services, court services and youth services.
With nearly 46 percent of state inmates being from Upstate or Central New York Area, reintegration services is now becoming the platform of the organization. Lisa Herold, CCA’s Office Coordinator said that people who have had a criminal history are in some ways punished for the rest of their lives, and CCA tries to conduct different programs to help people going through that transition a bit easier.
The youth services program helps students in the Syracuse City School District that are troubled or have been suspended from school. CCA has youth advocates and transitional coaches to help students during suspensions and help afterwards to get the students back on track.
In the past, the health services program went into correctional facilities to conduct HIV/AIDS testing for inmates. CCA offered counseling and support services for inmates and also helped their transition back into everyday life.
The family oriented work environment at CCA welcomes people from all walks of life to take advantage of their services. Lashonda Bell, who is the receptionist at CCA went through the program and has her own testimony. Bell says that if it wasn’t for this organization she doesn’t know where she would be today. Being that she was once in her clients shoes, she says being able to see the clients come in everyday with smiling faces and let them know that things will get better is the reason why she fell in love with her job.
CCA’s services are free and are not mandatory to the public.