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Amity Foundation is a non-profit agency with teaching communities throughout California,  Arizona and New Mexico.
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Amity Foundation currently has seven projects in California and a Foundation wide business office located in Porterville , California.We began our work in California over 11 years ago at the RJ Donavon State Prison in San Diego . Using the Therapeutic Community model, Amity Foundation expanded to include a post prison residential project in North County San Diego.

We began our work in California over 11 years ago at the RJ Donavon State Prison in San Diego. Using the Therapeutic Community model, Amity Foundation expanded to include a post prison residential project in North County San Diego. The San Diego facility has been a way for thousands of men to pick up the pieces of their life, get a job and education. A strong relationship with a local Charter School, created the ability for the men to receive a high school diploma. The success of the Donavon project launched the largest criminal justice initiative in the world, with over 9000 treatment beds inside the prisons for both men and women in California.

Currently, Amity Foundation has five in prison projects operating in the California Department of Corrections facilities. These include the original project at RJD, Lancaster, Soledad and two in Blythe, California. These “in prison TC’s” work with at least 200 men each. The success of these projects is directly related to the men entering a TC post prison. The data on the projects has been amazing and recently was featured in the March 2004 issue of the “Prison Journal”. Last, but not least, Amity Foundation has recently acquired a facility located in downtown Los Angeles. It is licensed for 140 students and has already been used to host trainings for all the Amity Foundation sites as well as the larger Community. A first class kitchen was designed by Richie Gross and is a focal point for Community Building.  A place of sanctuary is coming together for all that come to the Amistad de Los Angeles facility.

Faculty at Amity Foundation in California are proud to be recognized as leaders in working with people many have no interest in. We believe that the good work has an effect not only on the person that has spent years ruining their lives and the lives of others, but the future of the children that they have. All of Amity Foundation’s projects in the community reach out to the larger community and work with church’s, schools, and projects for youth. We want to be in the parts of California that need the most help, the most community and the most love! Recently, Hector Lazano from the California Department of Corrections thanked us “for the opportunity to observe first hand what makes the Amity Foundation a leader in the recovery field”. 

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Amistad de Los Angeles Celebrates

Amistad de Los Angeles celebrated four years of hard work on June 17 with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the facility located in South Central Los Angeles.  The “official ribbon cutting” was done by California Sen. Gil Cedillo,  the featured speaker, Mary Phillip, the Director of the Office of Substance Abuse Programs at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation—CRCR-- (which provides most of the funding) and Jim L’Etoile, Director of Parole for CDCR (and the first project manager for Amity’s nationally known project at the RJ Donovan Correctional Facility, which began in 1990.

Senator Cedillo praised Amity Foundation for it’s hard work in keeping men from returning to prison in California. He also noted the great work that Amistad has done in building community and partnerships with local business and education services.

The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors and the City of Los Angeles also presented Amistad with official Congratulations and Best Wishes for continued success.

Other speakers included: Rod Mullen, President and CEO of Amity Foundation; Robin McGrath, Director of Services; Mark Faucette, Facility Director, and two graduates of the Amity RJ Donovan Project, Gerard Hernadez and Charles Goshen—both of whom grew up in the neighborhood, and who are now assistant facility managers at Amistad.  Representing the history of TCs in corrections, former CDCR Director Jim Roland spoke, as well as Dr. Lewis Yablonsky, author of the original book on therapeutic communities published in 1964.

The Bryant Temple AME Church rocked the house with the gospel group, CHOSEN. Heather Hardy, Director of the Arts and Culture Programs at Amity—an Amity and professional musician played to a pleased crowd!

Amistad also honored the members of the business community in Los Angeles that have donated many items used to help make the Amistad facility what it is today.

One county official who had been coming to the facility for over 30 years marveled at the transformation that has occurred since Amity has acquired the facility---the parking lot has been transformed into a grass and tree filled park between the four story “hotel” building and the former parole offices---now a beautiful dining room with a professional commercial kitchen providing vocational training to Amistad residents.

Speakers made it clear that this is just the beginning. Amity Foundation intends to move beyond the physical facility to provide help, assistance, and services in the surrounding community---one plagued by poverty and crime.

Many people that had previously seen the facility when Amity Foundation began the work could not believe the transformation that was done. The project has expanded out to the Los Angeles community by providing services to families of the students enrolled in the facility as well as other community organizations.

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PDF Format Read more about the event (in espanol) >


Amity Foundation and Bryant Temple AME Presents Gospel Feast

“If we can not do Gospel in Los Angeles, where can we do it”? This was the comment Rod Mullen, President and CEO of Amity Foundation made at the Amistad De Los Angeles facilities Open House which featured the award winning gospel group CHOSEN. The all female group rocked the house with over 200 in attendance.

Guest including Warden Joanne Gordon from the California Department of Corrections and many others from the religious community in Los Angeles enjoyed a first class meal prepared by Sherman and his crew from Amity‘s food service department. There was a great message from the Rev. Dr. Clyde Oden from the Bryant Temple AME church.

The event was planned and organized by Alvin Abston, Senior Counselor at the Amistad facility. Alvin, a lover of music and his relationships in life, introduced Brad Sanders from the nationally Syndicated radio show “the Clarence Update” and “On The Phone with Tyron”. Alvin spoke about his friendship and support that he has received from Brad which was very moving for residents of the Amistad facility to see.

The event was one of many exciting Open Houses that Amistad will be hosting at the newly renovated Grand Ave location which will weave the fabric of the Los Angeles community into ours. Amistad graduates and students will share personal stories of change!

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Amity’s Vista Ranch is Amity’s oldest residential community in California. The campus houses a Therapeutic Community for parolees from Amity’s prison communities. The Vista Community offers students a structured environment and continued education in developing tools that will support personal growth and change. Vista Ranch is located in North San Diego County and offers a beautiful environment for its students. There are man areas for community ceremony and celebration and to host family and friends.

In a 1998 study that was done at the Amity Community at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, San Diego, CA, it was found that those who complete Amity In –Prison and After-Care treatment are less likely to return to prison. The study done by Lowe & Wexler show a rate of return to prison after completing both phases of community 27.4%. For those that had no treatment the rate of return to prison was 75.1%. Vista offers workshops on relapse prevention, vocational training, money management, parenting skills and more. The Amity Vista Ranch is an integral part of the Amity Foundation Community.  Back to Front page >
PDF Format Read More in the NC Times Article >


Vista Ranch's Pavillion