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The Center for Returning Citizens

What the org has to say: “The Center for Returning Citizens is a Philadelphia-based nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of returning citizens (formerly incarcerated people), their families, and communities. Our goal is to fight social injustice and mass incarceration by helping returning citizens transition and build new lives, advocating for their rights, and educating the public about the detrimental effects of mass incarceration.”

What we found: TCRC works primarily with people impacted by the criminal justice system and who are looking to fulfill their court-mandated community service. The organization aims to help these individuals have a meaningful community service experience that benefits the communities they’re from. TCRC is run by individuals who were previously incarcerated themselves, which they say gives them a unique perspective on their work. “We’re formerly incarcerated and we’re OGs,” says founder J. Jondhi Harrell. “We’re former bank robbers, former gang leaders, former drug dealers, and we’re uniquely qualified to show kids something different and be positive role models in their lives.”

Features & Policies

  • Free of charge
  • For youth aged 12-18
  • Has a food pantry that youth and their families are welcome to enjoy
  • Does food deliveries
  • Organizes outings with the kids, including concerts, sporting events, and trips to New York
  • Offers counseling and help finding employment
  • Refers students to trusted teachers for homework assistance and college readiness
  • LGBTQ friendly
  • In-person and virtual
  • Can provide care over the phone, Zoom, Duo, or Facetime
  • Free WiFi in office
  • Provides gender-specific care
  • Staff members subject to background checks for past sexual abuse and child endangerment

Languages spoken by staff

  • English

Additional Locations