Beginning in 1990 Joyce Ann Brown’s dream of helping those less fortunate began to take shape. Along with five volunteers she began developing the program known as Mothers (Fathers) for the Advancement of Social Systems, Inc. (MASS). In 1993, MASS was formally incorporated as a non-profit organization. In 1995, Ms. Brown and her volunteers began working with formerly incarcerated individuals. Formerly incarcerated individuals are defined by MASS to include not only those exiting prison with a felony but also those with a felony or misdemeanor probation who are unable to reenter society successfully due to their backgrounds. Of the first eight people assisted that year, she is still in touch with six who continue to be productive members in our communities. Between 1999 and 2004 MASS began to expand and had records setting years in the total number of clients served. Below is a summary of MASS’s accomplishments.
In 2003 MASS began to keep more detailed records and 550 documented clients and their families were served. In 2004 MASS welcomed 662 new formerly incarcerated individuals into the program.
In 2005 MASS began to track both employment and housing placements. Of the 725 new clients enrolled in 2005 320 were assisted in finding employment and 90 were assisted with housing placements.
In August of 2006, MASS opened a new satellite office in Fort Worth. In total the two offices together served 847 new clients. Each client was seen personally and a program of support was developed to meet their unique situation. Along with individual and family counseling, job readiness training, substance abuse support, anger management, and education programs, 350 clients were placed in gainful employment, with another 100 assisted with housing placements.
MASS assisted a total of 754 new clients in 2007. Again each was seen personally and was assisted through our counseling and education programs. MASS placed 322 in gainful employment and assisted 177 with housing placements. MASS received an overwhelming response due to the amount of publicity received after the announcement of the opening of the Fort Worth office. In order to maintain the quality of service to our clients MASS closed enrollment in the last quarter of 2007. 2008 was another good year as MASS assisted 682 individuals. Of those 248 were placed in new jobs, and an additional 127 in housing. In 2009 MASS assisted 602 clients with services. MASS placed over 250 with employment and over 100 with housing. Other clients received counseling and other services.
In 2010 MASS felt the economics crisis and because of lay-offs intake sessions were cut from 100 per month to twenty (20) ever other month. In 2010 MASS serviced only ninety-four (94) clients. Twenty-five (25) were placed with employment, fifteen (15) were assisted with housing. Other clients continue to receive other counseling and services.
In 2011, MASS was able to serve one hundred eighty eight (188) clients, eighty two were assisted with employment and fifty-five were assisted with housing. Other clients continue to receive other counseling and services.
2012 year to date, MASS has served one hundred fifty two (152) clients and were able to place 102 with employment because of working with Unit Foundation Ministries and Brown Construction Company. To-date we have assisted fifteen clients with housing. Base on funding MASS will not accept any more clients until 2013. MASS will continue to work with existing clients throughout the year.
MASS also has a long history of working with clients with HIV/AIDS. MASS began working with the unique needs of this population in 2003 when it welcomed 33 clients with HIV/AIDS. That number grew to 151 new individuals in 2004. MASS has continued to assist this population through the present. Assistance is given with housing, job placement, counseling and other needs. MASS had a strong partnership with the La Sima Foundation for HIV/AIDS education programs until they closed. MASS also work with Aids Arms and Aids Interfaith Network (AIN).
Working in conjunction with Welcome House, Nexus Recovery, the Bethlehem Foundation and other charitable organizations along with partnerships with the S. M. Wright Foundation, the Dallas Urban League and Operation Oasis, MASS is poised for continued success as we look toward the future in helping formerly incarcerated people and their families.