Walla Walla has once again demonstrated why it is a great place work, raise a family and retire.
I’ve lived and worked in many communities and Walla Walla is special. Walla Wallans take pride in taking care of our own and providing opportunities for others to succeed. I’ve had the privilege of teaming with 10 local organizations and agencies over the past year to help develop the INK-OUT program.
This program helps people who made poor choices in the past and have unwanted drug, anti-social or gang-related tattoos get them removed.
INK-OUT participants must be committed to making a “significant life style change.” They must also meet stringent eligibility criteria, complete an application process, have a mentor, go through an interview with the INK-OUT committee, and complete 25 hours of community service, 10 of which must be done before the first session will be scheduled. Participants over 21 must meet the same stringent criteria, as well as pay a portion of the cost of the tattoo removal.
The INK-OUT project stems from Recommendation No. 11 of the Community Council’s 2011 report “Reducing Gang Membership Through Prevention,” and has grown into a multidisciplinary group of organizations working hard to bring it to life.
I would also like to personally acknowledge Dr. Robert Betz, Walla Walla General Hospital, The Sherwood Trust, First Fruits Foundation through the Blue Mountain Community Foundation and The Health Center for their willingness to partner with the community and help people realize their dreams of making a better life for themselves and their families.