The Apollo 13 Project: Our vision

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THE APOLLO 13 PROJECT, online at Youturn.org, is a public advocacy and employer awareness campaign that improves the lives of former offenders and their families and saves taxpayer dollars by building a culture of smart second chances and fair chance hiring. A second chances culture will recognize that many former offenders have changed, others are changing, and it is in our interest to help them.

A NOTE ON PUBLIC SAFETY: Youturn.org puts public safety at the forefront of our concerns. Our mantra is smart second chances. We do not expect society, employers or individuals to take undue risks. Everyone will have different comfort levels, and we do seek to badger or regulate anyone into offering second chances. We do believe that, approached properly, smart second chances makes everyone safer.

THE UNITED STATES incarcerates far more people percentage wise than any other country. (Learn more.) We can debate the merits and demerits of this, but no one can dispute than almost all of these people will be coming back, nor that it is both cheaper and more humane to help those who can be helped to become functioning citizens. We are very aware that many of these people will not make it. (Learn more.) But we aim to flip the paradigm by making smart second chances an American virtue. (Learn more.)

TO OPEN EMPLOYMENT PATHWAYS and break down social barriers, we (a) share high-impact success and change narratives, (b) use high visibility public events to focus attention on those narratives, (c) work in targeted regions to spread the message, and (d) build a digital platform for a “Employment Trust Market” connecting employers with eligible past offenders.

TO LEARN ABOUT THE PLAN in more detail, contact us here.

Our mission: To change lives by changing culture

WE CHANGE the lives of ex-offenders and their families by building a culture of smart second chances.

THEORY OF CHANGE:

1) The Apollo 13 Project, online at youturn.org, uses web, video, podcast and print media to share stories of (a) ex-offender transformations and, (b) the programs that helped make that change possible; and then …

2) uses traditional and social media marketing to engage community leaders, employers and neighbors to raise public awareness and humanize meritorious ex-offenders, so that …

3) community members openly support those who have changed and are changing their lives, appropriately offering second chances to deserving ex-offenders in employment and housing and social contexts, so that …

4) Barriers to change decline, so that …

5) Reformed ex-offenders rebuild their lives, and those who want to change will see hope and opportunity, so that …

6) Public opinion shifts, recidivism rates fall, taxpayers save money, and ex-offenders and their families rebuild healthy, balanced lives.

Our inspiration: Singapore’s Yellow Ribbon Project

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TTHE APOLLO 13 PROJECT was inspired by the Singapore’s Yellow Ribbon Project. The project, which celebrates its 10th year in 2014, combines a major public relations campaign to change attitudes with an outreach to employers. The project has achieved high prominence in Singapore, and the reentry success results appear to be quite impressive.

THE YELLOW RIBBON PROJECT takes its name from the 1970s folk song, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon,” which tells the story of a returning prisoner hoping to be accepted. In the United States the yellow ribbon is now associated with soldiers away at war. So we need another motif. We’ve chosen the Apollo 13 moonshot, for reasons outlined below.

Our namesake: the Apollo 13 moon mission


THE APOLLO 13 PROJECT is named after the 1970 moon expedition that malfunctioned in space. The crew in space and support staff on the ground at NASA headquarters in Houston worked intensely round the clock to get the men in their damaged craft around the moon, through reentry of earth’s atmosphere and back on the ground safely. We like the metaphor. Here is the ABC News report of the splashdown on April 17, 1970.