Project RETURN will hold its 39th annual Celebrate the Return fundraiser on Saturday, November 2 at the Marquette University Alumni Memorial Union. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel projects reporter and editorial columnist James Causey will be the emcee of the event.
Project RETURN–Returning Ex-incarcerated people To Urban Realities and Neighborhoods–was created in 1981. The nonprofit organization offers various services for those who have been incarcerated in the Milwaukee community, including employment services, alcohol and drug counseling, housing services and support groups.
“We exist to help men and women returning from incarceration with their re-entry needs,” Wendel Hruska, executive director for Project REUTRN, said. “Everything we do is on a one-on-one basis, it really depends on the individual and what they come to us needing help with is what we’re going to assist them with.”
The theme for this year’s event is The Journey Home. “Release from incarceration is a joyous moment, as well as a scary one for many, because lives need to be rebuilt–relationships repaired, jobs secured, housing found. It can be overwhelming,” said Ed de St. Aubin, an associate professor of psychology and board member of Project RETURN. “With this annual event in particular, we take the opportunity to showcase success stories of those who have made ‘the journey home’ to encourage others that they can succeed as well.” Several formerly incarcerated individuals will give their testimony at the event and the 2019 Elija O’Neal Award for the Formerly Incarcerated will be announced.
The event is also an opportunity to recognize individuals in the greater Milwaukee community who have made a significant difference for the formerly incarcerated and the work of Project RETURN through their service. Several awards will be given out at the event, including the Don Bein Service Award and the Gwendolynne Moore Commitment to Restorative Justice Award.
“The Celebrate the Return event is an opportunity for individuals, organizations, businesses, faith groups and educational institutions to support the work of Project RETURN, restorative justice and the ex-incarcerated individuals who are working hard to rebuild their lives,” de St. Aubin said. “All are welcomed to attend.”
The event takes place Saturday, November 2 at the Marquette University Alumni Memorial Union. Meet and greet starts at 5:00 p.m. with dinner and program to follow at 6:00 p.m. Individual tickets as well as table sponsorships are available. For more information and to purchase tickets or be a sponsor, contact Amanda Smit at 414-374-8029 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.projectreturnmilwaukee.org