F5 Project offers transition assistance for life after confinement

In less than two years, the lives of hundreds of North Dakotans have been changed thanks to the F5 Project. 
It’s a non profit that focuses on helping inmates or people with criminal backgrounds find housing, jobs, and resources.

The founder explained it as an empowerment organization for men and women coming out of jail, prison, treatment centers, homeless shelters, or making any similar transitions.

The organization is structured by mentorship through F5 transitional Houses and F5 meetings in jails and prisons.

The F5 project started in January of 2016 in Fargo, and has expanded to Bismarck, Devil’s Lake, and parts of Minnesota.
Next on the list is the northwest part of North Dakota.

“I’ve always had, like a deep down, wanting to help people who were like me,” the F5 Project’s founder, Adam Martin, said.

If you visit the F5 Project’s website, you’ll hear and see him.

“It always blew my mind that most of the people who are helping people come out of prison, are people who have never been to prison,” Martin says.

When you hit the F5 key on a keyboard, it refreshes or reloads the page you’re on. 
The non profit’s name comes from that and the fact that Adam Martin has five felonies on his record.

Martin said, “I have a very vast experience of coming out of treatment or prison or jail or whatever and living on the streets.” 

The F5 Project is designed to refresh your life.

“I want to just destroy the stigma. People are people,” said Martin. “Some have backgrounds, but everyone deserves a second chance.”

The five pillars are communication, housing, employment, healthy socialization and transportation.
The goal is to help pave the way for people who are coming out of confinement and looking for resources.

“There’s nothing I can do about their background check, right? And that’s what’s holding people back from getting housing, getting employment, whatever. Someone does a background check and they see that this is not someone they want to take a chance on,” Martin explained. “Well, for us, that’s what we want to do.”

“It is difficult, as a felon, trying to come back out into the community, trying to reestablish yourself,” Sarah Bachmeier, who is nearly two years into addiction recovery, said. “I know a lot of people aren’t reestablishing themselves, they’re establishing. So they don’t necessarily have the tools, the guidance, or the direction on where to go.”

F5 houses don’t have curfews or many drug or breathalyzer tests. It’s all about personal accountability.

“The hope is, is that all the people who work for F5 have that mentality when they’re working with people that are coming through our houses,” Martin added. “If someone screws up, let’s see if we can hit F5 and just start fresh.”

Health professionals, law enforcement, jail officials, job service representatives, and community members came together in Minot Tuesday night to hear from Martin about how his organization works.

Martin said his goal is to expand to the western part of state so that every jail and prison in North Dakota has F5 meetings.

Next, he hopes to have F5 houses in the surrounding areas as well.

State’s Attorney Roza Larson said that the need for F5 or something similar to its collaborative efforts is needed in Minot, and she hopes it can develop soon.

To contact F5, call 701-552-5570 or e-mail Adam at adam@f5project.org

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