The Focus Forward Project Welcomes Applications for Volunteer Teachers

The Focus Forward Project is currently looking for volunteers to teach courses to federal inmates in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, and to individuals out on bail.

Each course is taught by two Focus Forward Project volunteers who are responsible for:

  • Attending training session taught by Focus Forward staff on Focus Forward course curriculum and Bureau of Prisons policy 

  • Leading weekly class sessions for 8-14 participants

  • Working with class participants to create resumes and reentry plans

  • Planning and leading graduation ceremony

  • Writing letters of support on behalf of each participant to be sent to their sentencing judge 

Volunteer time commitment is 3 hours per week for 12 weeks.  

For more information, please send an email to info@focusforwardproject.org

Volunteer Reflection

Teaching for the Focus Forward Project has been the most enjoyable volunteering opportunity I’ve ever had.  After years of volunteering, I am delighted to have found in Focus Forward a non-profit that is incredibly well organized, bases its programming on hard data, and meets a real need in the community it serves.  

No matter what kind of day I’ve had, walking into our class always puts a smile on my face.  I’ve never before had the pleasure of teaching such motivated, enthusiastic students.  In spite of the challenging experiences they are going through, the Focus Forward participants never cease to impress me with their positive attitudes, desire to better themselves, and wonderful support of one another.  In twelve weeks, our class has become a real community of friends.  We have laughed together, cried together, applauded achievements, commiserated over losses, and watched each other grow as people.

The students I’ve taught through Focus Forward inspire me every time I see them.  They are working so hard to be better fathers, husbands, sons, friends, and citizens.  Even under great stress, they have maintained a sense of humor.  And it has been truly moving to watch the quieter members of the class gradually blossom.

Not only is working with Focus Forward incredibly satisfying and a lot of fun, it’s been a vital learning experience for me.  Helping this handful of people has just whetted my appetite for service and made me more dedicated to improving the lives of people who need a hand.

-- Kendra L.


The Focus Forward Project Internship

Focus Forward is looking for a dedicated intern to be engaged in all aspects of the organization, including operations, fundraising, and programming. The position offers flexible hours and the vast majority of the work can be done remotely. The parts that are not remote are based in New York City. Because FFP is a small and growing organization, interns are able to find quite a bit of latitude in pursuing projects that further their professional interests and help make decisions and policy at a higher level than might be available to interns at larger organizations.

The intern will work closely with the Interim Director and will also interact with members of the Board of Directors. There will be a number of core responsibilities that are estimated to take 5 hours per week. In addition, interns will be expected to commit 5+ more hours per week on projects of their design that fit both their own interests and the organization as a whole. These projects will be discussed and approved by the Interim Director at the beginning of their internship, and the Interim Director will provide support, guidance, and supervision throughout the internship.

Please apply by sending your resume and cover letter to info@thefocusforwardproject.org. In your cover letter, please explain your interest in criminal justice as well as the types of independent projects you would most be interested in pursuing while working with us.

Core Responsibilities:

  • Maintaining and Developing Social Media Presence which can include daily tweets and 2-3 Facebook posts per week
  • Alumni Follow-up including accessing court records and keeping internal system up to date on alumni’s sentences, release dates, and contact information. Communicating with alumni and making referrals to outside programs, opportunities, and organizations.
  • Organizing Program Materials including maintaining inventory of class supplies, ordering more and distributing them to volunteers as needed.
  • Event planning and assistance most frequently with the graduation ceremonies for our classes and events for alumni.

Possible Projects Available:

  • Program Monitoring and Evaluation:  Assisting volunteer researchers in designing an evaluation of our classes’ outcomes and effectiveness.
  • Education Program Design: Adapt our curriculum for specific audiences and review existing curriculum to ensure we’re using best practices.
  • Communications: Design and execute a communications strategy to reach potential participants, partners, volunteers, or the media as appropriate.
  • Fundraising: Research, write, win, and manage grants.
  • Data Architecture and Administration: Researching and executing improvements to the systems we use to track our classes, participants, and volunteers, and how we analyze that data.

Qualifications

    Required

  • Demonstrated commitment to supporting justice-involved individuals
  • Enrollment in or recently completed a program of higher education
  • Located in New York City or ability to reach New York City within a week’s notice
  • Comfort with social media and G-Suite (Google Drive, Gmail, etc)
  • Demonstrated ability to follow through with time commitments and deadlines
  • Strong writing skills
  • Reliable
  • Organized
  • Resourceful
  • Sense of Humor

    Ideal

  • Currently pursuing or recently graduated with master’s degree in public policy, social work, education, or other related advanced degree
  • Familiarity with federal criminal justice system
  • Experience working or volunteering in jails/prisons or advocating on behalf of people with criminal records
  • Ability to read a room and to communicate to different stakeholders diplomatically
  • Technical skills related to projects you are interested in pursuing