RECH Foundation uses funds from Google to assist former inmates

Published: Nov. 19, 2022 at 9:27 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The holiday spirit is already flowing for one foundation in Jackson after receiving a grant from Google.

“Christmas came a lot early for us with this award,” Pauline Rogers, director of the Reaching and Educating Community Hope (RECH) Foundation said.

In June, Google announced it was investing $4 million towards a new fund that aims to expand the company’s justice reform work.

Thousands of nonprofit organizations across the country applied to receive support from the fund, and the RECH Foundation is one of fifty recipients selected.

“I was excited. One of the executives from google called me,” Rogers said. And she was like, ‘do you know who this is?’ And I was like, ‘of course I don’t know who this is.’ And she said her name and she was from Google. And I said, ‘as in Google?’ She said yes and you’ve been selected.”

RECH plans to use the money to mix Google’s digital skills curriculum into its existing program to “educate, train, and employ” people who were once locked up for a job once they are released.

Rogers says it is her mission to help more people create new beginnings for themselves and their families after they’ve served their time.

“We are thankful every day and I live to see people come out of incarceration.”

Barbra Wilson spent more than a decade in the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility before recently coming to live at a transitional home for women.

“38 years I was incarcerated. It took faith in God for me to really make it,” she said.

While in prison, she was fortunate to take a computer literacy course. After her release, she brought those skills to the transitional home and she’s now teaching other former inmates how to use computers and apply for jobs.

“When I got out, there was a lady here and she had never worked on computers and she seen me working on laptops and shew wanted to,” Wilson said. “I told her if she is willing, I can train her. I began to show her small stuff and she got interested. So, I put her on a program. Now she is typing twenty-four words per minute. So by the time they got the grant for google, it was like a fit. And I know I wasn’t nothing but the grace of God.”

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