Intervention. Operations. Training. Development.
Kai Smith, MBA, Exec. MPA, CPHR
President & CEO: The GRAAFICS Program
For the past fifteen years I have tirelessly investigated
what appears to be the never ending topics of Gang Life,
Ex-Offender Reentry and Absent Fathering. During
this time, I’ve sat with more than 25 college
professors (from 4 different universally recognized
accredited institutions) and attended countless
hours of group and independent trainings and
seminars on each subject, searching for the answer to the
seemingly connected question “What makes an ex-offender
successful upon reentry / What makes a deadbeat father
become responsible and productive towards his children.
What makes a gang member ‘Drop His Flag’ or (for the most part) NOT enlist?”
In this time I’ve visited and studied a plethora of internet sites alleging devotion to these topics only to get the copy & paste version of what I heard at seminars. Interestingly, I once came across a blog site where Former & Current Gang Members, The Formerly Incarcerated and Absent Fathers were allowed to anonymously voice their opinion on their present situation and why they currently behave as they do. Not alarmingly, I discovered that an overwhelming number of these men had absolutely no respect or faith in the system when it came to the facts surrounding ‘their’ lives and realities. After concentrating on this blog site for a while, I conducted several seminars with groups of Formerly Incarcerated Men, Absent Fathers and Current & Former Gang Members asking them each “With respect to your specific category, why do you behave the way that you do- honestly?” Repeatedly, I was told (via their own language, saddened expressions and unbelievable examples) that they honestly believe that the system has absolutely no understanding or empathy for their situation(s).
Being an active and productive father is strictly a matter of choice, as is maintaining freedom once released or refraining from street gang membership. Throughout the years, independent research has led me to believe that in order to capture the interest of this population, an effort to make them ‘want’ to become productive must first be offered. No amount of theory or programming can make a person that does not ‘want’ to become productive, become productive within any measure.
As a business owner, educator and administrator with the capacity to empathize with these men, I honestly wish that I could report that I have ‘THE’ answer to what now appears to be a series of never ending questions; but sadly I do not. However, I do have what has proven to be ‘a single, temporary, effective’ solution. The GRAAFICS Program.
I personally guarantee that participants who enter my program and maximize their input will exit with the skills needed to begin positive lives as responsible and supportive fathers; a law abiding, taxpaying citizens and contributing members of their communities. I am not only confident that GRAAFICS can make a difference in the lives of young men and women in New York City; but also urban youth worldwide.
Kai Smith, MBA, Exec. MPA, CPHR
Founder & Executive Director