The CANEI Program is a 26-week, strength-based, in-home treatment program that teaches troubled youth how to live in and respect the community they call home and to develop empathy, compassion and forgiveness for themselves, their families and for others.
The CANEI (Constant and Never Ending Improvement) Program – co-founded by Azim Khamisa – is in its 11th year and has presence in eight cities in the United States. Over the last five years the CANEI program has successfully turned around 70 percent of the youth offenders referred to the program by the juvenile justice agencies. This is compared to the State systems where the recidivism rates are higher than 80 percent. CANEI is able to make such an impact at 10 percent of the cost of incarceration.
CANEI program employs three pillars: Spirituality, Restorative Justice and Literacy. Essentially we work with the whole person: mind, heart and soul.
The Spirituality Pillar
CANEI teaches the offenders through the spiritual pillar to connect with their spirit rather than be influenced externally, using an internal navigation guidance system. CANEi is not a religious program, but it is a spiritual program. CANEI respects all wisdom traditions and exposes youth to different practices and encourages them to develop their own spiritual beliefs. We use a variety of positive experiences to increase resiliency and connect with the spirit. When you are connected with your spirit you know it the results of lying, cheating, stealing or killing someone.
The Restorative Justice Pillar
The way CANEI uses the RJ pillar is to get the youth offenders to:
(a) Take responsibility for their actions
(b) Ask forgiveness of the people they have hurt
(c) Forgive themselves
(d) Forever change their offending behavior and go out into the community and redeem themselves by getting involved in programs that stop other kids from following their former footsteps. Many CANEI graduates find their vocation from their avocation.
The Literacy Pillar
From Monday to Friday the CANEI youth spend 2.5 hours learning reading, writing and arithmetic. The goal is to get them to a 9th-grade capability in these areas. Once CANEI graduates learn these skills they continue to excel, and many are the first in their families to graduate from college.
Through intensive, home-based services, group-based sessions and a multi-dimensional approach, Living Skills Training and Service Learning Projects, CANEI youth transform themselves by cultivating a sense of self, purpose and responsibility. They positively reconnect with others and live productively and respectfully in their community.
COA Innovative Practice Award
In 2008, The Council on Accreditation (COA) created the Innovative Practice Award to “acknowledge forward thinking accredited organizations that implement new and forward thinking practices that enhance the quality of services provided to vulnerable children, youth, adults and families.”
CANEI’s service philosophy is rooted in strong beliefs:
Youth grow and develop best when in a positive family-like environment surrounded by caring, committed individuals.
All youth are capable of positive growth and change including the development of empathy, compassion and forgiveness.
Treatment must be holistic and include principles of restorative justice and non-violence.
A family-driven, strength-based assessment process.
Development of an individualized service plan within thirty (30) days of youth and family contact.
Seven-day availability for each youth/family.
Individualized counseling utilizing Cognitive Behavioral approaches, Group and Family Counseling.
24-hour crisis support.
Coordination of education, support, Service Learning and Life Skills Training.