Encouraging and Supporting on the Outside
Many former inmates re-offend and return to jail after their release because they lack informal and formal support systems needed to help them reintegrate back into their communities. The HOPE Aftercare Program is an interfaith pre- and post-release adult reintegration program for inmates and reentrants that seeks to ensure their successful return to the community. HOPE Aftercare provides information resources, referrals, and guidance regarding employment, housing, education, food assistance, mental health services, and clothing.
The program’s mentoring component matches inmates and reentrants with mentors who can assist them on a one-on-one basis. Mentors maintain professional relationships with their mentees by visiting them in jail at least three times a month and maintain the match for at least a year. Upon release, mentors and mentees are expected to meet weekly. Continuing education classes on topics, such as eco-maps, criminal and addictive thinking patterns, and healthy boundaries, provide mentors with the tools necessary to maximize their effectiveness. On the outside, our weekly support groups provide a forum for reentrants and their supporters to share resources, network, and address social, intellectual, vocation, spiritual, emotional, environmental, and physical needs.
We believe mentoring is a relational process that helps a mentee identify and utilize God-given gifts and talents. The importance of mentoring is punctuated by reports that 95% of men and over half of women in prison report never having a loving father figure. Mentors are great listeners and patient advisors. You can help lower the recidivism rate by becoming a mentor and play an immeasurably vital role in supporting an individual in their journey to become a productive member of society.
Become a Mentor
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A MENTOR?
A successful mentor is someone who can focus on the needs of their mentee and develop a relationship of trust and respect by being supportive, encouraging, and positive. HOPE provides trainings and materials for mentors on various aspects of working with reentrants.
Mentoring requires a significant amount of time investment. We ask potential mentors to voluntarily sign an agreement acknowledging their commitment and be prepared to fulfill an obligation of six to twelve months. We ask each mentor to remember that they are also making a pledge to an individual who will be counting on them.
A mentor is expected to:
- Participate in the orientation and training sessions provided by the HOPE staff;
- Volunteer one to three hours per week for a period of six to twelve months;
- Meet with their mentee on a regular basis;
- Attend, with mentee, weekly support group meetings for the duration of the mentor-mentee match;
- Participate in pro-social activities with the mentee on a regular basis;
- Complete reports in a timely matter;
- Live an exemplary life before the mentee.
Thanks to the HOPE Aftercare Program, released inmates are equipped to live productive, legitimate, satisfying lifestyles that include:
- Increased faith fellowship;
- Addiction recovery;
- Employment assistance;
- Family reunification;
- Help in managing mental health problems;
- Improved, positive cognitive behavior; and
- Improved interpersonal skills.
How You Can Help
The Foundation of HOPE relies on the support of others like you to help us make a difference. Find out how you can get involved by sharing your gift of time or financial support.