Tribute to the Men and Women of PAA, Inc.
|NOTE: I am editing this post because someone jogged my memory about a few other people that should be mentioned. The content and context remain the same.
At least one decade ago, I worked in Baltimore Maryland at the Prisoners Aid Association of Maryland, Inc. (PAA). While working there for almost a decade, I met some wonderful people -- staff and clients. To this day, I am still in touch with some of them, and this morning, Christmas Eve, I wanted to send this shout out to the men and women who trusted me with their livelihood for all of those years. Thank you for trusting me to make payroll, to provide quality services, to share in your hopes and dreams as well as your ups and downs.
When I look back over those years, I remember the struggle, the many nights that my daughter (Nneka Barnes), Michael Brown and Aaron Barnett Robert Woods (deceased), Pat Woods (eventually married Patrick Woods) stayed up for days doing grants, collecting stats, running copies, and getting them to their destinations minutes before they were due.
I remember all of the inspections, the finding of suitable housing, and working with other groups to secure employment for those coming out of jail or prison, and yes, I remember the families with children and working to meet their needs.
With the new decade on the horizon, I wish to thank the staff of PAA again for all the wonderful times that they brought to the many clients that passed through our doors. Those annual picnics got so big, that we had to change venues. Each of you gave your best and our clients proved it by having the lowest recidivism in the City. What a job.
A big smile always crosses my face when I remember the Christmas truck on Christmas Eve, and we would spend the day and night giving out Christmas presents to any and everyone that showed up. I remember the lines being wrapped around the blocks waiting to get in and shop for Christmas, and yes, my six grandchildren were always there handing out toys, clothes, and coats and everything else that was available. No one complained about being there, and we often stayed until the last person got their shopping in before we went home in the wee hours of Christmas. What a time. Thank you.
Along the way, we lost a few (Robert "Bob" Clinkscale and Woodrow "Woody" Grant), but many continue the journey like
John Levenson and Patricia Fenn, who served on the Board. That Board that we built at PAA helped us to turn the corner and build a place for ex-offenders.
This Christmas Eve know that you were and are appreciated because together WE made a difference.
Peace and blessings always.