SHE IS NOW AN AFFILIATE WITH MILLION KIDS.
KEYS is extending its worldwide impact to include New York.
Child suicide is trending in connection with online abuse.
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In 2016, Mr. Allbritton launched the Jailhouse Jazz Workshop at the Valhalla Jail as a volunteer.
Having never worked in the correction environment before, she stayed with what she knew: her ability to connect with her students over the past 25 years in 3 different countries, and her passion for the American Songbook.
To-date, she has served 8 annual workshops at Valhalla and looks forward to expanding this program to other locations throughout New York and America.
Her interest in the American corrections sub-culture has led her to develop three presentations. While aiming at three different populations, the goal of each talk is to save lives and help people learn tools that will help them manage their emotions -- and take back their lives with a new sense of enthusiasm and gratitude.
The average life expectancy for a correctional officer (CO) is 59, while the national average for Americans is 75. Why such a gap? We know stress causes over 95% if all disease, but everybody’s stressed. Are correctional officers that much more prone to dying prematurely of diseases like cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular issues?
No. The #1 cause of such a short life for correctional officers is the silent epidemic of suicide.
There are not a lot of data on this problem, but we must not wait for research and analysis. We can and must take action now to provide education, tools, and social support to save COs struggling with suicidal ideation.
Being a first responder often means seeing the worst of human nature, and sometimes putting themselves in harm’s way to save others.
The irony is that after cheating death so many times, many first responders take their own lives.
This talk connects suicide rates of first responders with some of the most stressful situations they face: human trafficking, especially that of children.
We aim to reduce the suicide rates of first responders by teaching them new tools to manage their stress levels, while connecting with teams that are building best practices in human trafficking prevention and intervention.
As technology advances, the dark web criminals continue to get more sophisticated — and evil, for lack of a better word.
There is a growing epidemic of suicide among children and teens, due to sexual exploitation (“sexploitation”) on social media. Images and video of them in compromising situations are captured — either without their knowledge or consent, or as a result of careful and expert grooming. Threats are then made to share the images and video with their social network unless money is paid.
The kids, extorted for large sums of money, often find themselves in situations that seem impossible to escape, and so they take their own lives.
This talk aims to raise awareness about this epidemic and offer solutions.
One summer day in 2015, I was visiting a friend in Manhattan and came across a New York Times article about a 22 year-old man who had committed suicide that previous weekend. I read the entire article, riveted, and was left feeling hopeless and grieving.
I had never met Kalief Browder, nor heard of him, but after reading about the last few years of his life and how he died, I wanted to DO something to make sure his death was not in vain.
After a few days of mulling it over, I decided that even though I wasn't a therapist or social worker, and I couldn't implement a few ideas I considered, I would focus on what I COULD do.
I could bring jazz to the incarcerated as a way to help bring lightness to the heaviness they felt every day. If I could help prevent just one suicide, it would be worth it. If I could give people the beauty of the American Songbook to their hearts and let the lyrics and music nurture them when they needed it most, then I would be doing something in the name of Kalief Browder, to honor him, and I would join others who were working to make sure that what happened to him would never happen to anyone else ever again.
Our nation's justice and corrections systems are still a far cry from perfect, but jails like the one in Valhalla are a shining example of what great programs can do to help make re-entry into society a smoother transition, and reduce recidivism.
The leadership of the Westchester County Department of Correction is to be commended, from Joseph K Spano (Commissioner of Correction) all the way down through the ranks.
I am grateful to Comm. Spano for inviting me into "his house" where I can serve the incarcerated and work with the finest in the country. "Jailhouse Jazz Workshop" launched in 2016. Little did I know then that eight years later, in 2023, I would still be connected with this community, delivering the poetry, music, history, people, and live experiences that only jazz can give.
Now in the role of KEYS FRC's director, I look forward to expanding the Jailhouse Jazz Program to other locations in New York and Southern California.
Read The New Yorker article (2014):
Read the New York Times article (2015):