OAR stands for Opportunity, Alliance, Reentry and OAR has been helping former offenders become model citizens since 1971. Mason Dimick is Director of Case Management Services at OAR and is an amazing human being. Sara Conlon is OAR’s Executive Director. Here’s what they told us.
H5RVA: What do you wish people knew about OAR?
Mason: OAR serves more than 4,000 participants each year between pre- and post-release services! We have been in Richmond more than forty years and many outside of the reentry community still do not know about the resource we are to those involved in the criminal justice system. We provide individual substance abuse counseling, substance abuse support groups, assistance in securing identification, cognitive behavior educational classes, daily employment-focused computer classes, GED classes, budgeting, and classes on skills for obtaining and maintaining employment.
Sara: OAR is the leading reentry agency in Richmond assisting former offenders with their transition to life outside of incarceration. We’re daily challenged by the stories, and inspired by the successes, of our hard-working, dedicated clients. The staff of OAR is a dedicated, excellent group of professionals that really go above and beyond to help the returning citizens in Richmond. I'm proud to lead this team in inspiring our clients to reach success.
H5RVA: What do you wish people knew about YOU?
Mason: I identify as a transgender man and am happily living and working in Virginia. I want people (especially young transgender youth) to know that they can grow up and have a wonderful quality of life. Over 40 percent of transgender youth attempt suicide and I want transgender youth to know they are beautiful and worthy of belonging! I want people to know that transgender people are just normal individuals trying to do life just like everyone else. We face unjust barriers to safe bathroom access and healthcare but we are resilient people. The road has been incredibly hard and challenging, but I think it has made me a better social worker and friend. I love deeper and am passionate about the work we do in our community.
Sara: I'm a young, thirty-something female that has worked extremely hard to achieve all that I have. I am a true servant-leader. I love to inspire others, give back to the community, and fight for social justice. I have 2 wonderful pit-bulls and an awesome group of friends that I love to have fun with. Outside of running OAR, I like to sew, read, bowl, travel, and play with my dogs.
HIGH FIVE MASON, SARA, AND ALL OF THE STAFF AT OAR. To learn more about this incredible community resource, click here.