14 episodes

We are here to crush the popular narrative that the world is broken, sharing stories of transformational leaders, inspirational projects and selfless collaborations.

Thousand Stories Secretary Brown

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 6 Ratings

We are here to crush the popular narrative that the world is broken, sharing stories of transformational leaders, inspirational projects and selfless collaborations.

    Building Fathers - Ep. 2.2

    Building Fathers - Ep. 2.2

    Fathers play an incredibly important role in the lives of their children.  Episode 2.2 of the Thousand Stories podcast discusses the impact of two 'Fatherhood' programs on their communities by providing new fathers with the skills they need, and may have never been modeled to them, to be that critical support to their families.

    • 59 min
    4% Recidivism - Ep. 2.1 - ReMerge Impacting Female Incarceration

    4% Recidivism - Ep. 2.1 - ReMerge Impacting Female Incarceration

    Oklahoma has incarcerated more women per capita than anywhere else in the world for nearly three decades. In 2010, the Inasmuch Foundation and the United Way of Central Oklahoma convened a group of 25 community leaders to address the rate at which Oklahoma incarcerates women and the trauma that occurs within a family when a mother goes to prison. This group identified an approach that would remove barriers and provide a path for more successful futures for mothers who battle cycles of trauma, poverty and incarceration.

    Founded on a collective impact model and designed around comprehensive programming and support, ReMerge was officially launched in 2011. Since that time, ReMerge has graduated 154 women who parent a total of 383 children. ReMerge has saved the state of Oklahoma more than $35 million dollars by providing a pathway for mothers to be restored to our community rather than incarcerated and separated from their children.

    Upon graduation, a ReMerge mother has safe and stable housing, is reunified with her minor children, is maintaining sobriety and on the pathway to stable employment. What makes ReMerge truly different from other diversion programs, is that upon graduation, a ReMerge mother is eligible to have her charges dismissed, removing a substantial barrier to the rest of her life.

    ReMerge serves mothers of minor children who are facing non-violent felony charges in Oklahoma County. Participants are referred by the District Attorney’s office. ReMerge mothers are high-risk, high-need, meaning that without substantial treatment and support, they are unlikely to break the cycles of incarceration, addiction, and poverty. ReMerge utilizes evidence-based treatment and programming to provide individualized, wrap-around services for mothers and their families.

    ReMerge is a four phase program that first acts to stabilize moms and build a foundation for recovery. ReMerge provides safe and sober housing, food, clothing, transportation, access to mental and physical health care, and addiction recovery as baseline support. As ReMerge moms progress through the phases of our program, they gain the necessary coping, parenting, and practical skills needed to rebuild their lives and their families.

    As part of our holistic services, ReMerge mothers are assigned to a team that includes a case manager, a therapist, a health and wellness program manager, a child reunification program manager, education and employment coordinator, and a peer recovery support specialist. These teams support each mom to reach her goals and to meet the competencies required of each phase.

    As a ReMerge mother grows in her skill and capacity, she needs to enter the workforce but she needs a career, not just a job. Even in a state where the cost of living is relatively low, a mother, supporting an average of two children, cannot survive on minimum wage. The Prison Policy Initiative found that justice-involved people have an unemployment rate over 27%, which is significantly higher than the US unemployment rate of 3.6%. The unemployment rate is often even higher, 33% or more, for women.

    Joblessness is the number 1 indicator for reoffending. ReMerge invests significantly in the education and employment training of the women in our program because without the ability to grow wages and a future, hopelessness can cycle right back into addiction and incarceration. Through our program of holistic treatment, recovery, and education and employment support, we are making a tangible difference in the lives of ReMerge mothers and their families’ futures.

    • 43 min
    Episode 1.12 - Social Infrastructure Builds Success - Fields & Futures

    Episode 1.12 - Social Infrastructure Builds Success - Fields & Futures

    The purpose of Fields & Futures is to ignite hope and confidence throughout Oklahoma City Public Schools by showing kids they are capable of rising above their circumstances.

    We believe that when students find a team, they find the classroom.

    And when they commit to the classroom, they put themselves on a better path to graduation and life beyond high school.

    Can a quality, maintained athletic field put all that in motion?

    • 55 min
    Ep 1.11 - Building Law Enforcement Alternatives through Partnership

    Ep 1.11 - Building Law Enforcement Alternatives through Partnership

    Building Law Enforcement Alternatives through Partnership – Episode 11

    All too often, law enforcement officers are the first and only call to make for community citizens who are reporting any issue in the neighborhoods. Regardless of the issue being reported, the system has been built around the police officer being the only person there to call.  Whether the issue is one of public safety or mental illness, an officer arrives on scene as a first, and many times only, level of response, whether or not the officer has the resources necessary to be appropriately responsive.

    If the issue that the officer is there to address is one of poverty or mental illness, the officer is often times under equipped to properly intervene. A partnership launched in August 2020 with the intent to provide officers with a team of professionals to help address these issues that typically have fallen to law enforcement as first responders.

    By aligning OKDHS embedded workers with each OKCPD patrol division and mental health professionals from Northcare, a true community response team was built. The partnership, referred to as ‘TRUST’ (triaged resources urgent support team), has expanded to all patrol divisions with OKCPD and has served more than 300 people with a more appropriate response to their needs. Weekly TRUST team meetings provide a feedback loop for officers and help to build deeper relationships between officers and social workers.  Now, in Oklahoma City, when a firearm is not required, the structure has been built to deploy a second wave of responders that can serve communities in need with hope centered interventions, providing a pathway to successful outcomes.

    Podcast Participants:

    Justin Brown, Secretary of Human Services | Twitter: @jbrownokc & @secretarybrown | Instagram:  @secretary_brown

    Wade Gourley, Chief of Police, Oklahoma City Police Department | Twitter:  @chiefgourley

    Paul Frederickson, Captain, Oklahoma City Police Department

    Partner & Funding Organizations:

    Oklahoma Department of Human Services | URL:  www.okdhs.org | Twitter: @okdhs

    Oklahoma City Police Department | URL: @joinokcpd.com | @okcpd

    Northcare | URL: northcare.com | Twitter: @northcareokc

    Music Credit for #thousandstories podcast is given to Tayvon Lewis (linkedin.com/in/tayvonl)

    • 45 min
    Human Centered Design & Large System Transformation - 1.10

    Human Centered Design & Large System Transformation - 1.10

    Episode 1.10 - Human Centered Design

    Trending globally in the private sector is the concept of building new products and technology primarily informed by the people to whom these products are being sold. In small forward thinking government circles, human centered design is gaining a small foothold in the rebuilding of systems and processes to better serve the community. The concept of redesigning incredibly complex systems that serve some of the most vulnerable among us is light years away from creating a new tennis shoe or a marketing campaign for a coffee shop, but the framework offered by this strategy brings incredible opportunity.

    The Oklahoma Department of Human Services operates systems developed over many generations managed by committed and heroic public servants, but currently require large scale strategic disruption launching in every space with human centered design.  Beyond (but including) a prescribed formula for HCD, this way of thinking must go much deeper by infusing the culture of the organization at every level.

    Included the opportunity offered by a human centered design framework is a systemic and authentic opportunity to bring the voice of the end customer into system design. All systems, including human services systems, across the nation seem genuinely committed to talking to communities that they are intended to serve.  Early work to build this dialogue are vulnerable and productive and show that organizations, their workforces and communities are wanting to do this work, but teams and leaders are recognizing that conversations have to lead to meaningful action, and that these desired outcomes are slow and difficult without a model to turn talking into system design.

    Perfection has not been achieved in any of these spaces, including OKDHS. This strategy is ever evolving, but the early approach has yielded a promising vision for a Human Centered Design Continuum that embraces community voice, builds a strong culture of focused transformation in the deepest corner of a huge organization.  As important as all of the other benefits is the articulation of a bent towards action in systems that have been stagnant for decades.

    The agency’s HCD continuum allows for a wide variety of experiences ranging from a small team in rural Oklahoma utilizing a developed toolkit to embrace human centered design to reconsider an inefficient process to large scale 18 week, partner led designs that end in technology development. The intent is to build a model that can scale to the need and capacity of the team that desires to utilize.

    Episode 10 of the Thousand Stories Podcast attempts to provide an experience for the listener, by bringing together four participants in a small scale example of how human centered design can drive changes in extremely important and complex systems. The team will tackle a current issue at OKDHS by building personas, a current state journey map and a future state journey map to rebuild a system or process that addresses a specific need of children currently in the foster care system.


    This is a short example of an HCD sprint done for illustration purposes. It does not include a customer listening function, which would likely be included in a subsequent stage of HCD as the team works towards a solution to the problem. The outcome of the sprint will likely need to be further discussed and feasibility of the solution will need to be evaluated.

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Tip of the Eviction Iceberg - Ep 1.9 - CCP

    Tip of the Eviction Iceberg - Ep 1.9 - CCP

    Among the countless short-term and structural social impacts of the economic fallout of the COVID 19 pandemic includes an increase in housing insecurity. A variety of interventions, including eviction moratoriums, have delayed some of the quantitative evidence of increased housing insecurity.  Some of the most successful interventions have included financial support for both the tenant and the landlord alike, yet many of these strategies are difficult to implement at the massive scale required to address the issue. In Oklahoma, two organizations have been on the front-end of addressing the eviction concerns for thousands of families. Community Cares Partners, based in Oklahoma City, and Restore Hope, based in Tulsa, have been transactional leaders in braiding funding from state, local and non-profit sources in an effort to fund current and past-due rent and utilities for those that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.

    Ginny Bass Carl, Executive Director of Community Cares Partners has a long history of serving the state through community service and philanthropic efforts, and her leadership has resulted in tens of millions of dollars being utilized to address potential evictions across Oklahoma.

    Community Cares Partners (CCP), a program of Communities Foundation of Oklahoma, is making a difference for Oklahomans by assisting individuals and families facing housing crisis and eviction as a result of lost wages or hardship from COVID-19. A public-private partnership, CCP distributes Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) allocated by the State of Oklahoma, City of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, and Cleveland County to help our neighbors maintain housing stability.

    • 44 min

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