Introducing the 2023 Reentry Advocacy Fellow, Barbara Ornelas!

Barbara Ornelas

The Reentry Roundtable is very excited to announce Barbara Ornelas as the newest Reentry Advocacy Fellow. Barbara is the Executive Director of RARE Academy. Read the interview below to learn more about Barbara’s goals for her fellowship!

To contact Barbara please email

Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am a woman with a dedication to the work. I am amazed at the advancements that have been made. When I came home I did not know anyone from Austin because I am from San Antonio. It took me a long time to get used to being in Austin and I honestly debated with myself on whether to stay or not. As soon as I made the decision to stay, it pivoted me to a job opportunity that would allow me to build out a program to support people like myself who are facing similar obstacles.

What inspires you to do this work?
My personal journey and struggle is the inspiration for me. When I came home I was unable to find the resources and did not know who I needed to call for support or to cover my basic needs. This experience drives me to make the changes for those coming home now.

What are you hoping to accomplish as the Advocacy Fellow?
I am hoping to be a part of an environment or community that collaborates in order to support those returning home. I want to be a part of ensuring that we have a real one stop shop so that everyone can have all their needs met in one place.

What do you believe you bring to the community?
My impact. I came home to nothing and with no knowledge of the landscape. I bring dedication, willingness, fight, & voice! I want to be able to use my voice to fight for those who need it the most.

Where do you see Reentry Advcocay Project in two years?
I see RAP being the one stop shop for all the services and resources. The place where anyone who is returning to the community can come and find all the things they need.

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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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