The Yellow Ribbon Project is an initiative by SCORE (Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises). The Yellow Ribbon Project is basically an initiative that facilitates the re-integration of ex-offenders into society. I can imagine it to be difficult for them to come out of prison, reacquaint themselves with friends and families, maybe get over some of the lingering shame and most importantly get back to working.

One of the most important roles of the Yellow Ribbon Project is to de-stigmatize ex-offenders and encourage employers to hire them. According to the SCORE website, there are some 11,000 ex-offenders released from our various prisons and drug rehabilitation centres (DRC).

I was most pleased this morning to read that the number of employers willing to hire ex-prison inmates under the Yellow Ribbon Project has jumped by nearly a third. This was revealed by our Minister for Law, Mr. K Shanmugam. Apparently 560 new employers registered with SCORE between 2004 and this year. Of course, this is not actual the actual hiring number but the intention to. Still I think it’s a great step.

Now, why am I such a big fan of this? No, I’ve never been to prison, though I’ve done silly things in the past (e.g. driving after a heavy night of partying) which could have gotten me into serious trouble. I was fortunate not to get caught. In fact, I’m sure all of us have made mistakes in our lives (Ref: Romans 3:23). Some may not be illegal but all deserve to be forgiven.

It is in this spirit of forgiving and being forgiven that I am a great fan of second chances and hence applaud the Yellow Ribbon Project for their efforts. Keep going.

Click here for the official site of the Yellow Ribbon Project.

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Why Yellow Ribbon?

From the SCORE Website:

The song is believed to be based on an actual incident that occurred on-board a southern bus bound for Miami in Florida, USA. One of the passengers explained to the driver that he was just out of prison, having served three years for passing bad checks. In a letter to his wife, he had written that she didn’t have to wait for him; but, if she was still interested, she could let him know by tying a yellow ribbon around the only oak tree in the city square. As the bus rolled down the U.S. 17, nearing the man’s hometown of White Oak, Georgia, the driver was asked to slow down so that all the passengers could see whether the ribbon was in place. To the man’s tearful relief, it was. The driver pulled over and phoned the story in to the wire services, which spread all over the country. Songwriters Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown read it in the newspaper then put together their million-selling ballad.

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