ST. LOUIS, Mo. – “Our goal is to energize hope. Only then can parolees from the federal justice system find a productive pathway in life that strengthens our communities.” So noted IBEW Business Manager Frank Jacobs as he recounted the reasons for the IBEW/NECA Electrical Connection’s enduring support for the U.S. Probation Officers Holiday Giving Program held at the IBEW Union Hall on Dec. 14.

“We greatly appreciate the hospitality and generosity by the IBEW/NECA partnership that makes our holiday giving program a success for those we serve in the justice system,” said Lisa White, supervising U.S. probation officer. Also attending the event was Kim Bramlett, chief U.S. probation officer.

It was the sixth year that IBEW/NECA partnership hosted the special holiday celebration for families served by the justice system – one that also opens potential career opportunities. More than 130 families served by the United States District Court Eastern District of Missouri, Probation Division received holiday gifts as the Electrical Connection again supported the division’s holiday gift giving program. IBEW Local 1 and St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association partner to form the Electrical Connection and donated $2,500 to support the event and the union hall venue at 5850 Elizabeth Ave for the celebration.

“Next door is our IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center,” said Kyle McKenna, executive vice president, St. Louis Chapter NECA. “Our IBEW/NECA representatives use its proximity to plant a seed with parolees and their families that could ultimately lead to a career in the electrical and communications technology industry.” Launched in 1941, the training center is the oldest of its kind in Missouri and has trained more highly skilled and safe electricians and communication technicians than any other program in the state.

The holiday giving event served families with a parent or parents awaiting sentencing or on probation in the federal justice system. It featured a sit-down dinner for families, including more than 350 children. The event included turkey giveaways, dinner catered by Andre’s, toys and warm coats for children. Families were also given warm blankets from Jayden’s Quilts and parishioners of Saints Joachim & Ann Catholic Church in St. Charles, Mo.

The holiday giving event is part of the U.S Probation Office’s Family Program an innovative approach to rehabilitation. It is a holistic and family inclusion led by Lisa White and Clark E. Porter, MSW, an ex-felon himself, who is now a program support specialist for United States District Court Eastern District of Missouri. The U.S Probation Office offers substance abuse treatment, community service, employment assistance and support for ex-offenders to reduce recidivism and reorient their lives to give greater purpose beneficial to society.  Learn more about Porter and Project Re-Direct in this video.