What would you do if you found yourself returning from prison, a social outcast in a strange city, with nowhere to lay your head? Could you survive life “on the outside”?

Enter Redemption Housing’s Day One Challenge to find out.

The Context

Each year, approximately 25,000 people return to Philadelphia from incarceration, often struggling with the same question: “What now?”

Returning citizens face a lifetime of barriers, but the first few days and weeks are particularly daunting. They are released from prison with questions about where they are going to live, how they might support themselves, and where they might find help.


September 7, 2024, 9:30AM – 1:30PM


On September 7, 2024, Redemption Housing is excited to partner with fellow members of the Philadelphia Reentry Coalition to host the third Day One Challenge, returning after a two-year pandemic intermission.

This three-hour immersion experience will place you “in the shoes” of Philadelphia’s returning citizens. Experience a glimpse of the first days and weeks that follow their release.

To complete the Day One Challenge, you will work with other participants to find employment and educational opportunities, obtain your state IDs, and find a place to sleep until you can “find your footing.”

This experience will help you gain a greater understanding of the challenges that await returning citizens, give you a greater appreciation for the variety of supports offered by Philadelphia’s nonprofit service providers, and help you to see how Redemption Housing complements the amazing work that is already being accomplished in your city!


Join the 2024 Day One Challenge with a $25 per adult donation. (Children under 18 are welcome without a donation.) We ask participants to register in advance so that we are prepared for you. You may choose to register as an individual or as a group.


This event is made possible by our partner organizations. For details on sponsorship, please contact us at [email protected].

Where to Meet

The Day One Challenge allows participants to explore the various supports offered by Philadelphia’s service providers to returning citizens. Participants should meet at First Baptist Church (123 S 17th St) for welcome and orientation. We will then disperse from there in teams.


Event Support

The Day One Challenge is unique because it maintains a friendly, educational, and supportive atmosphere. Over the course of three hours, the Challenge creates a community among participants, raises awareness about the critical needs facing Philadelphia’s returning citizens, and helps generate the community support to keep Redemption Housing moving forward.

Rest Stops

There are 5 planned stops on the event route, and we’ll have plenty of water and snacks available to stock up on!


Volunteers will be available ensure that participants are safe, hydrated and comfortable. Participants are welcome to leave bags at the gathering location at First Baptist Church. There will also be a volunteer “Help Line” in case participants become lost or stuck along the way.

First Aid

There is a CPR/First Aid certified volunteer on hand at all times, as well as a full First Aid kit. If there is a serious emergency, 911 is the first call we make.

Difficulty and Pace

This is a learning tour, not a race! If you are physically ready for a three-hour walk, you can find a comfortable pace for yourself throughout the Challenge. You will be given clue cards to help you find your way from one stop to the next, so that there is no pressure to maintain a fast pace. Don’t worry — there will be a lot of support throughout the trip to make sure that everyone gets in safe and sound at the end of the day.

Post-Event Reflection

We have set aside 30 minutes following the event for group reflection. The reflection time will include informal presentations and group discussions, while you enjoy a light lunch provided by our sponsors. The event will wrap up in the early afternoon (the schedule is still being finalized), and if you are coming from out of town you will have the afternoon to see the rest of our beautiful city!

Inclement Weather

Depending upon conditions, Redemption Housing might have to make the decision to postpone the event for safety of all participants. That being said, we are planning for this to be a rain or shine event. Come prepared with rain gear on hand in case it gets wet.



We would love to have you join our planning committee to help secure sponsorships, organize the event, etc. You can also help during the event — we need volunteers to help with leading, registration, and providing participant support.

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