THE IDEA FOR EXODUS TRANSITIONAL COMMUNITY WAS FIRST SCRIBBLED ON NAPKINS, AS JULIO MEDINA WALKED THE HALLS OF SING SING CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, WHERE HE HAD BEEN SENTENCED TO 12 YEARS.
Julio witnessed as men were released from prison, only to return soon after with tales of discrimination, economic instability, and a lack of support. It wasn’t long before Julio understood that freedom does not promise prosperity; rather it promises a challenging period of transition, in which very few are provided with the guidance and resources to secure housing, find employment, reconnect with family, pursue further education, address substance misuse, and adapt to all that changes during one’s separation. In his understanding, the return home was akin to the Book of Exodus, wherein the Hebrews are freed from bondage, yet must wander through the wilderness for 40 years before reaching the Promised Land.
In March of 1999, just three years after returning home, Julio founded Exodus Transitional Community with the help of one volunteer and a generous donation by our founding supporters, Frank and Lisina Hoch. Since then, we have grown from a one-room office at the Church of the Living Hope on East 104th Street, donated by the late Reverend Dr. Lonnie McCleod, to a multi-location justice organization serving thousands of New Yorkers every year.
Though grounded in our re-entry programs, Exodus Transitional Community now offers a broad spectrum of services for adults and youth affected by the justice system, and we are proud to lead the policy and advocacy efforts that promote positive change in our communities.