Without a doubt, the first 6-months following release are the hardest. Even though an individual has studied and applied Christian Science on the “inside,” this hasn’t prepared them to know how things work now on the outside–especially after 10, 20, even 30 years of incarceration. Once released, disorientation is a pretty common factor–cities change, roads change, cars and transportation have changed, and technology has changed everything and every one. For those leaving prison today, there’s a lot of catching up to do.
Our work is to empower the reentry ministries of State Institutional Committees, Christian Science churches and individual volunteers with practical knowledge, training, insights and resources. Based on our experience, we’re prepared to help equip and ready those Christian Scientists willing to work with Returning Citizens as they navigate the myriad of issues they now face following release.
Take the simple things for example. You and I easily make calls or send emails from our cell phones; or use Google maps on our phones to find our way around. And when we need to purchase things like food or transportation, no problem; we pull out a debit or credit card. Yet what is a simple task for us can be a huge obstacle to those released today. Think about it: while they were incarcerated, Returning Citizens were shut-off from the world. And while their knowledge and trust in God may have grown due to their study of Christian Science, they will need every bit of your patience and practical guidance as they learn to figure out the new world they’ve just entered.
Embraced:Fully is committed to developing “Angel teams” of individuals from local State Institutional Committees, Churches, as well as individual volunteers who have a heart to help Returning Citizens; and this help may extend to helping their families as well. The reason we say the first 6-months after release are often the hardest is simply because during this time of re-adapting their lives to society, the learning curve is generally the steepest to climb. They have to hit the “re-start” button. And because change is never easy, we assist in the development and training of “Angel Teams” from a spiritual and hands-on practical perspective. Our work is to support you to know what to do in most circumstances as well as how to do it. And yes, make no mistake, it does take a team.
If you become a member of an Angel Team, you can expect to learn more about how to conduct your reentry ministry by viewing the training videos we offer as well as by attending our zoom conference meetings, and by studying the written materials we provide. We encourage mentor-ship between more experienced Angels and those new to this practice. Also, this EmbracedFully.org website will list current local resources to help you in your ministry work, and where you can find them in your area. For example, you’ll find resources to help Returning Citizens such as:
- Transitional and permanent housing
- Employment training
- Job opportunities
- Volunteer opportunities
- Resume writing and job interview skills
- Family reunification
- Case management (if mandated by the court)
- Technology skills training
- GED or higher learning…and more