Reentry Family Holiday Celebration

On Saturday, December 10, 2022, Beyond Us and Them’s extended reentry family gathered at the Los Angeles River Center for a powerful day of warm celebration, beautiful music, delicious food and heartfelt connection, organized as part of our Council Reentry Program.​

​Attendees were serenaded by the sweet, melodious sounds of reggae band INTENT, featuring Ronnie McQueen, former bass player for Steel Pulse.

Homegirl Catering provided a delicious breakfast and lunch spread.

​Creative and reflective activities, breakout groups and mini-workshops unfolded throughout the day. Participants were invited to share stories in small groups, participate in theater games and team-building activities, craft colorful “flower fairies” and “happy hearts,” learn more about the offerings of some of our partner service providers.​

​After lunch, participants were invited to select from a treasure trove of holiday gifts for children of all ages, donated especially for this event.

Twenty resource organizations set up at tables offering contacts, assistance, consultation and valuable information describing the services and resources they offer and the best ways to access these.

providers logos COUNCIL REENTRY program family holiday celebration

While resources and offerings were plentiful, the spirit of appreciation and celebration was most apparent in the experiences of the individual participants and was evident in the warm chatter, friendly smiles, excited children, emotional reconnections with old friends and the care and kindliness that was on display everywhere.

Feedback from the event

The following sampling of participant feedback conveys a sense of the day:

“It was a powerful example of community, and gathering together people in this work, as well as providing valuable resources and sharing what Council does and is.”​

“The atmosphere sent the message that our community is worth good things. The easy environment (food, music, smiling faces, beautiful gardens, etc.) was conducive to intentional networking. Who knows what will come from the contacts made there?”

“Great music, really good people doing amazing work in our community. Center for Council provides incredible resources for formerly incarcerated people and their families.”

“Hearing strangers’ stories and crafting with old and young strangers was heartwarming and gave me hope for our country.”

“I really thought the workshop exercises were brilliantly organized. I enjoyed the perspectives that were offered because I was in a space that was full of people who were accepting, compassionate, insightful, and willing to share their experiences and wisdom. I felt deeply connected to all of the people that organized the event and to all of the people that participated. The place the event was held is beautiful, the food was great, and the Christmas gifts were like a cherry on top of a Sunday on a Saturday.”

“I am very happy to have met members from various, brilliant and powerful organizations and had some meaningful and memorable conversations.”

“I felt centered, welcomed and inspired during the event. The food and music contributed to it but most importantly it was the people present that day.”

“This was an awesome and powerful event.”

“I just wanted to say thank you to all of the loving people that organized and funded the generous act of love!”​

If you missed this year’s event, mark your calendar — plans are already underway for December 2023!

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Beyond Us and Them team

Beyond Us and Them team

Beyond Us and Them is the leading solution-focused organization providing dynamic and scalable practices to combat the loneliness epidemic and foster social connection.

It creates programs and delivers training for law enforcement officers, healthcare providers, educators, policymakers, and community-based organizations, among other populations and individuals, to cultivate wellness, relationality, compassion, and resilience.