Advocacy Corner: My Reentry Roundtable Journey

Advocacy Corner: My Reentry Roundtable Journey

By Barbara Ornelas, Reentry Advocacy Fellow


Over the past year, I have had the privilege of serving as the Austin Travis County Reentry Roundtable Fellow, and I am thrilled to have been offered the opportunity to extend my contract for another year. It has been an incredibly fulfilling experience, and I am excited about the journey ahead.


As the RRT Fellow, I have been dedicated to uplifting the goals of the Reentry Advocacy Project (RAP) through community events, advocacy, and relationship-building activities. Working closely with my mentor, I developed a skill development plan, focusing on acquiring the necessary training and skills to make a meaningful impact in the reentry ecosystem.


One of the highlights of this past year has been the professional development opportunities I’ve been fortunate to participate in. Through Leadership Austin, I’ve gained valuable insights into effective leadership and community engagement strategies. Additionally, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington DC with the Hogg Foundation, where I gained a deeper understanding of reentry advocacy at a national level. My trip to New York City with the Women Transcending Collective Leadership Institute at the Center for Justice at Columbia University was an enriching experience that broadened my perspective on reentry initiatives.


Throughout the year, I’ve been actively involved in various ongoing activities, including identifying and participating in advocacy opportunities in line with the Roundtable’s strategic plan. I’ve collaborated with the Executive Committee and the WNT Team to determine my role in various Roundtable work groups, attending meetings, assisting with preparation, and ensuring follow-up actions are implemented.


Effective communication has been a key aspect of my role, and I’ve been diligent in responding to emails, monitoring social media platforms, and contributing to the Roundtable’s monthly newsletter. By staying informed about news, events, and opportunities related to reentry, I’ve been able to keep our community engaged and informed.


Looking forward, I am excited to continue my work as the RRT Fellow. In the coming year, I plan to further develop my advocacy track and associated skill sets, as outlined in my professional development plan. I am committed to strengthening connections within the reentry ecosystem and identifying new opportunities for advocacy and community engagement.


I am grateful for the trust and support of the Austin Travis County Reentry Roundtable.

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The Austin/Travis County Reentry Roundtable is collaborative promoting safe and healthy communities through effective reentry and reintegration of formerly incarcerated persons and individuals with criminal histories in Austin/Travis County, Texas.

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