As the first installment of our Partner Spotlight series, we are highlighting Negotiation Works, a DC-based nonprofit that provides negotiation skills programs for marginalized residents, including women experiencing homelessness, domestic violence survivors, and people recently released from prison. They are an engaged partner of the ACT Initiative as they advocate for and work closely with returning citizens on a day-to-day basis.
In the reentry space, Negotiation Works partners with organizations like the Georgetown Pivot Program, Community Family Life Services, the WIRE, and Together We Bake with the goal of empowering returning citizens with skills critical for navigating everyday life. They provide returning citizens opportunities to practice negotiating common situations they may face, such as persuading a landlord to rent them an apartment, explaining to a new employer that they need time off to meet with their probation officer, or working out a schedule to visit with their children. Armed with strong self-advocacy and problem-solving skills, returning citizens can forge stronger relationships, overcome challenges at home and at work, resolve conflicts before they unnecessarily escalate, and lead fulfilling and productive lives.
We asked Negotiation Works why supporting returning citizens is important:
First, we believe that everyone deserves a second chance. Moreover, we believe that people who have had significant challenges in their lives –such as incarceration, homelessness, addiction, employment insecurity and more–deserve a path forward that provides them with a sense of security, control, and satisfaction. Our negotiation program plays a role in this process by offering tools and training to help individuals who are trying to rebuild their lives to more effectively navigate and overcome barriers and difficult situations.
Negotiation Works hopes that the ACT Initiative will help humanize the everyday struggles of returning citizens so that community members – housing providers, employers, neighbors, family members, and others – will be more open-minded and understanding about their situations and will be more willing to provide them with the second chances they need and deserve.
From sponsoring events to being a loyal advocate, we are grateful for all that Negotiation Works does in partnership with the ACT Initiative.