Thank you for your interest in learning more about Persevere’s volunteer program!
Persevere’s mission is to reduce recidivism by equipping the justice involved with all they need to overcome the many obstacles offenders face when they are released so that they are able to move on and lead truly restorative, peaceful lives. In order to accomplish this, we offer many services that help provide the tools and knowledge that our participants need to create the lives they desire.
Our primary goal is to teach computer coding to our participants, so that when they are released, they are equipped with the certifications of a full-stack developer, one of the most sought-after positions in the tech industry. Outside of our coding classes, however, we are hard at work providing additional services so that they are able to maintain employment, a stable family life, sobriety, and a socially responsible mindset. In order to make this happen, we rely on a number of programs and people, and we welcome you into our efforts to help change lives.
“Teach them to code. Get them jobs. Watch them succeed.”
Our current locations for volunteer efforts are in or near Memphis, TN; Nashville, TN; Phoenix, AZ; Red Rock, AZ; Eloy, AZ; and Tucson, AZ, and we are expanding to other cities in the future. Most volunteer opportunities involve entering into a prison, which will involve some prerequisite training and background checks. If you are not comfortable with this, please reach out to our volunteer coordinator to seek out information about some opportunities that may exist outside the prison setting such as remote guest speaking. Also, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact our volunteer coordinator.Submit Application
The Coding Program.
Responsive Web Design
- HTML / HTML 5
- Basic CSS
- Grid based Layouts
- Object Oriented Programming
- Data Structures
Front-end Libraries Certification
- React and Redux
Data Visualization Certification
- Graphing with D3
- JSON Data and Ajax
APIs and Microservices Certification
- Package management
- Node/Express APIs
- NoSQL Databases
Information Security and Quality Assurance Certification
- QA with Chai
If you have skills in any of the coding languages we teach and would like to pass your knowledge on to help others succeed, we would welcome the opportunity to have you volunteer in our coding classrooms during the week or act as a coding tutor during the weekend.Submit Application
Persevere+™ Essential Skills Education.
Persevere+™ is a unique, integrated reentry curriculum presented in 5 modules over the course of a year. Each module uses a cognitive behavioral approach and is paced in a manner to optimize self-reflection, mindfulness, and interaction in relation to the topic. Rather than simply providing information, the modules work together as a whole to help participants become more aware of how to refine their mindset and soft skills, which will help them create a balanced outcome: a successful career alongside a fulfilling personal life. The modules include:
The Emotional Wellness module delves into common emotional issues, such as depression and anxiety, ADHD, anger management, and chronic stress. It provides participants questionnaires and methods to examine the level of emotional distress they experience, followed by providing methods and tools to help them manage or overcome the issue. We hope to empower our students to become more mindful of their emotions while giving them strategies to manage them. Throughout the module, it is stressed that visiting a healthcare professional is advised if they feel they are experiencing any emotional stress.
In this module, we teach students about diet, exercise, sleep, regular healthcare visits, and the overall benefits of prioritizing one’s physical well-being. Like the other modules, we will use a cognitive behavioral approach challenging program participants to examine personal and emotional “hang-ups” that may be holding them back from investing in proactive, physical self-care. We aim to provide students with practical strategies for maintaining good health, but more importantly, asking that they begin valuing themselves in a way that promotes self care.
This module addresses many of the issues that prisoners face when transitioning back into family life. Reuniting with family is one area that we have found induces much anxiety and stress for inmates; therefore, we developed and present this module with that in mind. We cover topics such as: forgiveness, trust, toxic family relationships, boundaries, and parenting.
The Recovery module provides participants with useful information that helps them desire and maintain a life of complete abstinence. We help them uncover some of the reasons they have struggled with addiction and how negative thought distortions can contribute to continued struggle. We then provide them with a new way of framing their thoughts so that they are better equipped to maintain sobriety.
This module provides “nuts and bolts” financial education and skills to support participants gaining financial freedom; however, it takes it a step further. We ask that participants closely examine their emotional relationship with money by reflecting about their history, community, family, and culture.
If you feel that you have a passion for helping others become more mindful and balanced, this volunteering opportunity would be very rewarding for you. We are looking for volunteers who would like to form one-on-one mentoring relationships in this program. Your impact could be profound and long-reaching, as this education will impact participants’ families, friends, and social circles.
Because the Persevere+ program is a year-long endeavor, we hope to fill volunteer positions with people interested in maintaining the position for a minimum of one year if at all possible. Consistency in the mentoring of our participants through the program will be key to their success. Additionally, a volunteer who follows his/her mentees for the duration of the program will benefit from seeing the success of the participants.Submit Application
Persevere Transition Home.
There are two main factors that contribute to recidivism: a lack of meaningful work and a lack of adequate housing. We aim to provide our students with access to both. We currently have one state approved residential transition home for men in Memphis, TN and are working to open more in other locations. There are many opportunities for volunteer work at the transition home, including but not limited to mentorship, home maintenance and renovations, yard maintenance, and even a community garden project called Persevere Feeds the Neighborhood.
If you are interested in mentoring, counseling, or have talents in building, restoring, repairing, or landscaping, this would be a great opportunity to affect the lives of participants transitioning from a prison setting to a home setting. Through home maintenance and repair, oftentimes mentoring relationships develop, especially among those who aren’t comfortable sitting face to face to just ‘talk’.Submit Application
In addition to teaching coding, we also equip our students with an education in how to obtain and maintain employment. This part of our program is taught and supported by our technology employment specialists, or TES’s. They are responsible for many things, including but not limited to: teaching on-the-job soft skills, teaching resume building and interview skills, keeping our students engaged in up-to-date technological developments, job placement, and more.
If you are interested in helping to ready our students for a new career in the IT field, there are many opportunities for you to help. You could:
• Be a guest speaker
• Perform mock interviews to help ready our participants for job seeking
• Help participants build a resume for the tech industry
• Work with participants on soft skill development in areas such as communication, conflict resolution, business ethics, productivity, dressing for success, teamwork, and more
• Be a career mentor
• Be at least 21 years of age