Getting Out and Staying Out is dedicated to drastically reducing the recidivism rate for incarcerated 18- to 24- year-old men by ensuring economic independence through purposeful education and directed employment. Since 2005, more than 1200 GOSO clients have returned to the community. Less than 15% have been returned to prison, compared to over 55% for other Rikers Island inmates, and 70% nationally. In 5 years, we have served over 1200 young men. GOSO is now regarded as one of the most successful discharge programs ever at Rikers Island. GOSO’s CEO, Mark Goldsmith, was awarded the Purpose Prize 2 years ago, given to those over 60 who make a career shift that improves their communities and the world.
Tony Smith has been on the board of GOSO for over 4 years and is committed to mentoring inmates to transform their lives and careers while aiding them in living purposeful and fulfilling lives that contribute back to their communities. Through his coaching, Tony has enabled these men, many of whom thought that a life of crime was their only option, to defy their past and build a future that they never thought possible. VSA proudly supports Tony in all of his efforts.
In October 2010, Angelo Valenti joined a team of key Liquidnet professionals, Anne Heyman, founder of ASYV, and key foundation staff members. In Rwanda to will assist in the transition of a new executive director, deliver management coaching, and staff training in The Agahozo Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda.
The Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV) is a residential community in rural Rwanda. Its 144 acres are home to youth who were orphaned during and after the Genocide in 1994. The village, which is designed to care for, protect and nurture these children, is a place of hope, where tears are dried (signified by the Kinyarwanda word agahozo) and where the aim is to live in peace (from Hebrew, shalom). The marrying of the two concepts in the name of the village is intended as a reminder of the success of similar efforts in Israel, where Genocide also changed the face of a nation. The village now consists of 500 high school-aged children many who are orphans of the Rwanda Genocide of 1994. Liquidnet’s support for the village is part of their larger corporate philanthropy, Liquidnet For Good.
VSA has been a global investor in the Hunger Project for over 20 years. The Hunger Project enables the poorest women in the world (Africa, Asia, and Latin America) to end their own hunger. Rather than giving people things, it empowers women to lead in their own communities. 30 million women have been trained in Vision, Strategy, and Action so that they can and do lead lives of self-reliance, meet their own needs, and create better futures for their children, and their communities.
Inside of a commitment to transform education from an exclusive reliance to studying the past to newfound abilities to invent futures, VSA has coached the NYC public school principals at the Leadership Academy.
VSA facilitated a conference on Transformational Leadership in South Africa in June 2003. Many prominent business and community leaders, thought leaders and scholars came together to share ideas and action pathways on leadership and how they can and do use best practices in their communities. VSA facilitated groups on transformation and leadership. The conference was held in the Vodacom HQ in Johannesburg. People got connected and were able to communicate through the network after the conference. This was followed through with a community conference in Nelsprit, Mpumalanga where many local leaders and community members came together. VSA delivered a workshop on breakthrough thinking and the people shared their action plans for making a difference on a local level.