What's new with the RJM programs?
Circles of Support and Accountability
A Mentoring Program for Former Offenders
At a recent gathering of our volunteers and core members, a discussion developed about people’s firsthand experiences in the group. The following comments say it all!
“Can I imagine what my life would be like without CoSA? Just let me say, I never imagined I could have a good place to live, a place I can really call home. In CoSA I see Jesus.”
We have a chance to make a difference. Let’s not talk justice, let’s do justice! Volunteers are wanted, needed, and loved! Be part of a rewarding success story!
Moira Brownlee, Jayson Besserer CoSA Coordinators
Go to CoSA Page
Community Chaplaincy (Bridge Ministries)
It’s been busy! Since April ’08 I’ve had 700 contacts with offenders and 40 contacts with family members. I’ve connected with 56 new offenders, 28 in the community and 28 inside prison. There were 1000 contacts with Correctional Service Canada staff and 1300 contacts with agencies.
The time spent with offenders was used to provide support in areas related to spirituality, socialization, housing, emotions, practical needs (clothing, bus tickets, etc), addictions, and physical and mental health.
Thank you to the volunteers who contributed 400 hours of direct service and prayer time towards reintegrating offenders!
Peter Worsley- Community Chaplain
Go to Community Chaplaincy Page
M2W2 – Edmonton Maximum Security Institution and Bowden Institution
M2W2 at the Max in Edmonton has evolved into primarily a social visit once a month. These visits rotate among five of the Max's eight units. Participation varies from 12 to 22 prisoners and from 8 to 15 volunteers. Since last summer's major incident, the Max has become, in effect, 12 separate prisons. Several one-on-one match-ups are in place for meetings outside the regular M2W2 visit time, and I am working with volunteers, prisoners, and staff to develop more of these relationships. The February 13 visit was cancelled due to yet another lockdown, and a number of volunteers got together with me at that time to discuss ways to adapt the program to the ever-changing situation at the Max.
Jayson Besserer- M2 Edmonton Max Coordinator
Go To M2/W2 Page
Edmonton Institution for Women M2W2
Friendship comes in all shapes. At the Edmonton Institute for Women (EIFW), we offer a program called ReCreating Community. Twice a month, volunteers from Edmonton churches come to EIFW to socialize with inmates. During these socials, singing, group games, crafts, visiting and snacks are enjoyed. I hear genuine laughter and witness their genuine excitement at these socials. For some of the inmates, we are their only contact with the outside community for the month. One volunteer says she loves going, it’s a time to relax, enjoy each other’s company and care for one another. Isn’t that what friendship is about?
Janet Anderson- M2 Edmonton Institute for Women Coordinator
Go to M2/W2 page
M2W2 is about commitment. Volunteers and inmates promise to meet once a month for a two hour visit. But that is often just the tip of the iceberg, for as relationship grows so does the real sense of being part of each others life journey.
Chris is a volunteer who in the past connected in the outside with the man he visited. Last week, he again set aside a word day to attend a parole hearing. He sat beside the inmate he is visiting , and added his voice to the proceedings. He was the only representative of the outside community present. He was the only representative of the outside community to be present. He was the only person saying directly that he would act as a support for ‘J’ should the board decide to grant parole.
Commitment like this never fails to humble me. It is about putting someone’s interests ahead of the thousand personal items that could fill that day. It is not knowing what energy and time ‘support’ could mean in the months and years ahead, yet promising it anyway. And doing that for these, - in the words of our Lord – “the least of my brothers.”
Gord Hutchinson-M2 Drumheller Coordinator
Go to M2/W2 page