We are striving for a day when legitimate second chances are accessible to all former offenders and their loved ones in the Chattanooga area.
Everyone deserves a second chance. However, second chances can be hard to find for former offenders and their loved ones. Through grassroots efforts and community initiatives that are restorative in nature and that provide realistic hope for those who have been affected by the criminal justice system, Chattanooga Endeavors creates second chances for men, women, and their loved ones to overcome the stigma of incarceration, to regain purpose in their lives, to become contributive members of the community, and to build a better tomorrow for all.
We do this by providing training, counseling, and support services that remove the barriers to meaningful employment and that teach the skills needed to enter the workforce and live within the law.
The values that originally formed Chattanooga Endeavors and that guide our actions every day come from a deep and abiding belief in second chances.
- Human Dignity. We believe in the inherent and absolute dignity of the human person — which is unaffected by one’s assets or actions. Whether returning from prison or retiring from the pulpit, we view every person as an equal among peers and make a conscious effort to treat all those we serve with uncompromised compassion and extraordinary respect in whatever we do.
- Subsidiarity. We believe that helping organizations exist to both enable and to empower the individuals they serve. Whether they need a little or a lot, our goal is to do for our clients only what they cannot do for themselves. This is true both of the services we provide and the decisions we make – where we seek to engage most those affected most.
- Restorative Justice. Just as crime touches many people, we believe that justice — for it to be more than plain punishment — must too. In contrast to the prevailing method of justice in America which is retributive, restorative justices is a whole-system approach that seeks reparation for those who have been affected by crime — i.e., the offender, his or her victims, their loved ones, and society. Although our services are specifically for offenders, our attention is never far from their victims and the responsibility they have to make amends wherever possible.
- Stewardship. We believe that we have an obligation to act in the best interests of those we are serving and to use the resources entrusted to us in a way that creates the greatest value for them. This means that we are careful in what we do and how we do it — making absolutely sure that the services we provide are not only needed but have the intended outcomes.
Our core values are expressed in the context of a training model that is based on our 34-year history of collaborating with former offenders to improve their circumstances, compelling evidence-based practices which recommend focusing programming on at least three of the eight most serious criminogenic factors, and nearly a century of research on the four common factors impacting effective helping services.
Whether change programs work has little to do with what distinguishes one approach from another. Instead, what makes them effective is almost all about what they have in common. Namely:
- They address external influences in the life and environment of their participants, which contributes approximately 40% to the variance in outcomes;
- They build strong helping alliance, which contributes approximately 30%;
- They use a model that achieves its stated goal, which contributes approximately 15%, and
- They create hope or expectancy in their participants, which also contributes approximately 15%. Both our model and the way we allocate funding aligns with these “common factors.”
The premise for most of our work is that helping former offender obtain employment that leads to a living wage is a cost-effective way to prevent repeat crime and re-incarceration.