County of Santa Clara Reentry Resource Center Hosts a Virtual Rise Up and Run 5K

Funds raised will provide new clothes for individuals recently released from incarceration

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.— The County of Santa Clara Reentry Resource Center is hosting its first Rise Up and Run Virtual 5K Run/Walk from October 24 to November 7, 2020. Proceeds from the event will provide new clothes to formerly incarcerated individuals. 

Many men and women leave jail or prison after months or years of incarceration with no housing, no food, no ID, and no job. And many have no choice but to reenter society wearing the same unlaundered clothes in which they were arrested. 

“Reentry clients need to apply for housing, jobs and services at government agencies and community organizations. And they need to show up to these appointments in clean clothes,” said Board of Supervisors President, Cindy Chavez. “It is a critical component for self- esteem, physical health and hope, and it represents a symbol of the fresh start that clients embark on when they come to the Reentry Resource Center.” 

The Reentry 5K event is also intended to bring awareness about the challenges faced by those with a criminal record and how we, as community members, can support our fellow residents. 

“These individuals face a multitude of barriers to housing, employment, education and many other crucial elements for a successful reentry into our community,” said Supervisor Susan Ellenberg. “The more we decrease the stigma associated with a criminal record, the more opportunities we can provide to individuals working toward better lives for themselves and their families.” 

Already, the event has drawn significant financial support from sponsors like FIRST 5 Santa Clara County and more than 50 attorneys with the County’s Independent Defense Counsel Office, as well as private attorneys, Bible Way Christian Center, and the Aider and Abettor Podcast. 

“Employees from more than a dozen County departments, community organizations and residents are signing up and creating 5K teams to support, not only a change of clothes for reentry clients, but a change in how we as a society view and treat justice-involved individuals,” said Office of Reentry Services Director, Javier Aguirre. “We all know someone with a criminal record – a neighbor, a family member, or a friend. With basic resources and a community that supports their efforts to change their lives, we can start breaking the cycle of incarceration.” 

Several County leaders, including Chief Operating Officer Miguel Màrquez, will join Reentry Resource staff and clients to kick off the 5K run/walk. “Giving a new shirt or a pair of pants to someone newly released from incarceration goes beyond clothing them. It’s a gesture that carries a clear message: you matter, we believe in you, and we support your efforts to change and heal,” said Màrquez. “Many of these men and women have no clean clothes in which to begin their reentry journey.” 

Axel Fernandez, a Reentry Resource client, knows what it’s like to be released from incarceration with nothing. He spent 16 months in jail, lost his family, his job, and his home. He was released in September of 2020 wearing the dirty t-shirt he was arrested in 16 months earlier. At the Reentry Center, he signed up for General Assistance, an ID voucher, and behavioral health and expungement services to help clear his criminal record. He was also referred to a Reentry Center service provider that gave him a gift card for new clothes. 

“I felt like all of the doors opened for me. Instead of this narrow path, I have this big wide path,” Fernandez said. “If you really want to change your life, these guys will help you do it.” County leaders, along with Reentry staff and clients, held a press conference on October 22, 2020. Watch it here​

HOW TO REGISTER FOR THE REENTRY VIRTUAL RISE UP AND RUN 5K 

There are many ways to participate: you can sign up as an individual, in teams, or sponsor a race registration for an individual or a family. Register at: Reentry Rise Up and Run 5K 

Participants will receive a race t-shirt, a medal, and tips on how to train. Since the 5K is virtual, the run/walk can be timed using a cell phone app to upload results to the race website. 

For those who don’t want to run or walk, donations of new clothes (or money donations to buy new clothes) for individuals released from custody are always welcomed. 

For more information about the Rise Up and Run 5K Run/Walk or the Reentry Resource Center, please visit www.sccgov.org/sites/reentry or call (408) 535-4277. 

ABOUT THE REENTRY RESOURCE CENTER 

The County of Santa Clara Reentry Resource Center opened in San Jose in 2012 and expanded to a second location in Gilroy in 2015. The Centers strive to build safer communities by providing resources to formerly incarcerated individuals and helping them heal and reintegrate back into the community. The Center collaborates with community-based entities and State and County Departments such as the Sheriff’s Office and Custody Bureau, Behavioral Health Services, Social Services Agency, Adult Probation, Office of the Public Defender, Ambulatory Care, Office of Supportive Housing, Office of Reentry Services, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and faith-based community partners. Representatives of these organizations and departments reside in one building and work collaboratively to provide resources and services to clients. Those services include referrals for mental health and substance use treatment, public benefit enrollment, counseling, health care, record expungement services, employment referrals, and housing and shelter information. 

ABOUT THE COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA 

The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, California, making it more populous than 14 states in the U.S. The County provides essential services to its residents, including public health protection, environmental stewardship, medical services through the County of Santa Clara Health System, child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, park services, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and many other public benefits. 

Visit the County of Santa Clara at: https://www.sccgov.org

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Media Contacts: María Leticia Gómez, Office of Communications and Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119, [email protected]Lynn Madden, Office of Reentry Services, (408) 535-4277

Posted: October 22, 2020

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