100 Days Selected Project for Criminal Justice

Circles Zero Six Eight (C068) is part of a proven national model that uses relationship building and community to empower its members to personal, communal, and financial success. Weekly meetings provide a meal and childcare for leaders (participants) to gather together and connect with one another around the shared experience of incarceration and poverty, using their stories to build one another up, help set goal and achieve goals, and become leaders in their communities.

Leaders are paired with allies (volunteers) who are equipped to provide a safe, supportive, and relational network for the leaders. Together, leaders and allies grow together, sharing their stories and learning how to cross racial, socio-economic, and cultural barriers that may have prevented them from ever being in the room together. This cross-cultural diversity will help spread a more accepting and diverse worldview for all involved.

C068 will empower ex-offenders to obtain and maintain gainful employment with the potential for upward mobility and career advancement as well as create a trusting and safe relational network to help them escape poverty and thrive. C068 will also provide a safe space for ex-offenders to process their re-entry into society with a trusting community who can help them navigate the considerable barriers they face in society preventing them from having a second chance at life.

C068 weekly meetings are designed to care for the whole family. The partners of the leaders and allies are encouraged to attend as well to help develop a strong family bond around creating and achieving positive goals and creating strong and stable households. C068 also cares for the families of its leaders. Targeted curriculum will help the children learn how to better think about financial and social responsibility, breaking the cycle of generational poverty that exists in so many families dealing with incarcerated families.

Project Leader/Applicant:

Michael Van Ness from Pittsburgh (South Side)

Additional Team Members:

Daniel Bull

Project Budget:


Related Links:

zerosixeight.org/circles Description page for our Circles initiative

Important Dates:

  • January 25: Weekly Wednesday Meeting
  • February 1: Weekly Wednesday Meeting
  • February 8: Weekly Wednesday Meeting
  • February 15: Weekly Wednesday Meeting
  • February 22: Weekly Wednesday Meeting
  • March 1: Weekly Wednesday Meeting
  • March 8: Weekly Wednesday Meeting
  • March 15: Weekly Wednesday Meeting
  • March 22: Weekly Wednesday Meeting
  • March 29: Weekly Wednesday Meeting
  • April 5: Weekly Wednesday Meeting
  • April 12: Weekly Wednesday Meeting
  • April 19: Weekly Wednesday Meeting
  • April 26: Weekly Wednesday Meeting