What is Filthy Rags Outreach?
Filthy Rags Outreach is a grassroots 501(c)(3) nonprofit gang prevention & intervention outreach that started in prison. We focus on reducing gang and gun violence among the youth and young adults in our community and changing the culture in prison by targeting current and former gang members and those that come from the street life. We expose the false realities of the street and gang lifestyles and challenge the criminal and gang mentality to help shift and change their way of thinking and equip them with the skills, tools, and knowledge they need to break the cycle & make the difference in their communities.
Why do you call yourselves "Filthy Rags"?
The term Filthy Rags comes from the Bible verse Isaiah 64:6 which says, "...all our righteousness are as filthy rags, and our iniquities like the wind have taken us away."
Being former gang members who represented different color "rags" ourselves, we knew that people that come from that walk of life could identify with the rags, so we used the bandannas to target and attract the people that come from our walk of life with the hope of affecting change in their lives.
We take our lesson from one of the greatest evangelist that ever did it,
the Apostle Paul, who said, "I have become all things to all men,
that I might by all means save some."
We have been called us to reach out to gang members and those who come from the street life.
Gangs, Guns, Drugs...
There are a number of factors that have contributed to the sharp rise in gang and gun violence in the Seattle/Tacoma areas in the past few years; and Filthy Rags Outreach knows that the young men and women perpetrating these acts of violence are crying out for help.
Seattle alone has seen a 40% rise in shootings and shots fired in 2021, which is a 10 year high for the city*, and Tacoma has seen more homicides in the first half of 2022 than they saw all 2021 combined.
Filthy Rags Outreach has a dedicated team of mentors, who all come from the street lifestyle that are tired of seeing young BIPOC men throw their lives away over the false realities and lies of the street and gang lifestyle.
In order to reach at-risk youth, our peer mentors work on developing relationships, which means meeting them wherever they are, both literally and figuratively; on the streets, in school, or at home, and really getting to know them and spending time with them.
If a young man (or young woman) can't see themselves in their city in the future, there's no hope. Our mentors work with at-risk youth to paint a vivid a picture to show them their true potential and help them to achieve it.
Whether they want to go to trade school, college, or become an entrepreneur, we can help them.
Utilizing our R.A.G.S. Youth program combined with wrap-around support and services which includes referrals to community partners, we help steer at-risk BIPOC youth away from the cradle to prison pipeline, to a bright future full of joy, hope, discovery, and help break those generational curses of addiction, abandonment, incarceration, and gang involvement.
Each client is partnered with a peer mentor who will be there for them throughout their re-entry process. Our peers all have lived experience, which makes their stories and messages credible.
Filthy Rags Outreach holds peer group meetings “Breaking the Chains and Bridging the Gap” that are similar to the meetings that we hold inside the prison.
We actively create an atmosphere for healing, and challenge the criminal and gang mentality through exposing its false realities, lies, and the illusions we all bought into.
Our meetings are lead and facilitated by core members who know what it's like to be in the participants’ shoes and have first-hand knowledge, experience, and insight into the challenges they'll face in transitioning from the conditionings of the street lifestyle toward positive living.
RE-ENTRY CASE MANAGEMENT
Filthy Rags Outreach has developed partnerships to help our participants get back on their feet.
In combination with our other programming, such as our peer-led meetings and our job-readiness workshops, our case managers work hard to overcome any barriers to independence and offer supportive services to our participants.
We offer wrap-around support to knock down any barriers to successful reintegration into society. We start with an assessment to determine our participant's most critical needs and connect them with the resources they need, whether it's housing, stabilizing documents, clothing, food, education, employment, or anything else, we help our participants connect with resources and guide them through the tedious process until they're back on their feet.
MENTAL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER TREATMENT
We have partnered with FOR THE CULTURE COUNSELING SERVICES to provide SUD assessments and treatment for our participants, as well as referrals to community organization to provide mental healthsg out of prison. Our 1st transitional housing program opened on November 1st, 2021 with 6 beds. Be A Friend offers weekly house meetings and programming designed to create an atmosphere of healing and to help the individual overcome barriers to success.
EDUCATION & TECHNICAL TRAINING
Filthy Rags Outreach provides job-readiness services as well as re-entry fairs and programs inside and outside of the prison system.
We connect each participant with an Academic and Career counselor at local community colleges that work specifically with individuals releasing from our state's prison system to identify the career or education path they'd like to pursue and knock down any barriers in the way of obtaining an education or career.
We provide interview clothing and help with resume and cover letter writing, as well as mock-interviewing so our participants can be fully prepared for the workforce in the 21st century.
We also have connections with employers who have agreed to hire men and women with felonies who have completed Filthy Rags Outreach re-entry coursework and/or graduated from Filthy Rags Outreach programming inside prison.
Radical Actions Guarantee Success (R.A.G.S.) is a Filthy Rags Outreach youth program designed to reach at risk youth in our community through mentorship and the most influential medium in our culture... music.
From the birth of street gangs in our community, music has played a critical role in shaping the mentality and culture of the street and gang lifestyles. Filthy Rags Outreach aims to use the lyrics and lifestyles of the artists that the youth of this generation are inspired by and look up to, to teach critical lessons surrounding: gang and gun violence, Identity, Images and reputation, relationships, education, hustle, entrepreneurship, and legacy.
As music has always been the driving force shaping the culture of the streets and gang lifestyle, from the clothes worn, and the cars driven, to the mentality of the youth and their perception on life, we aim to use these same lyrics to influence and reshape the mentality of young adults to redirect their path toward a life of positive living.