Restorative Justice Breakfast Unleashes Avenues to Foster Life Change

Date Posted: 6/25/2015

Prison units across Texas are benefitting from $23,000+ in conference-wide donations. Now learn how your congregation can personally facilitate life-changing ministry to at-risk youth, to adult inmates, and families impacted by crime.
 
Everyone loves a good “before” and “after” story. Whether it is a house makeover or a hair makeover, it does not compare to a “life makeover.” The Restorative Justice Ministry of the Texas Annual Conference serves as the ‘headquarters’ of dramatic life makeovers, according to annual conference breakfast speaker Charles Rotramel, CEO of reVision. reVision is a 5013c organization founded in 2011 by St. Luke’s UMC to intervene in the lives of at-risk and gang-affected youth throughout Harris County. An example of dramatic life change can be seen in this video of youth testifying to the redemptive influence of Christian volunteers in their lives.
 
RJM Ministry Opportunities: Get Started via Tours and Training
Breakfast attendees and others in congregations across Texas are being encouraged to invest in the lives of youth and adults who are incarcerated.
 
Work with Youth as a reVision Mentor
“Many reVision mentors begin working with youth while they are incarcerated in a Harris County juvenile facility and continue the relationship after the youth is released,” shares Charles. “This re-entry period between institution and home is a critical time for juvenile offenders who may have begun making behavioral changes but who can easily regress upon returning to their original environment.” Mentors help youth change their lives, develop positive life skills, and prepare for promising futures. Prior to training, volunteers working in prison and youth related ministries must agree to a background check. (Download form) Volunteers are needed as mentors, as well as in juvenile probation, in the schools or in the prison environment.
 
reVision Mentor Training—ALL volunteers (choose one): 

  • Sunday, June 28 at Mission Bend UMC from 12pm-2pm (lunch provided)
  • Monday, July 20 from 6pm-8pm at St Luke's Gethsemane campus
  • Tuesday, July 21 from 6pm-8pm at Bear Creek UMC
(Meals and training materials are provided and RSVPs are appreciated. RSVP to Carrie.leader@houstonrevision.org)
 
To help with Juvenile Probation
  • Orientation/training Saturday, June 27 from 9am-10:30am OR Wednesday, July 15 6:30pm -8pm at Juvenile Justice Center, 1200 Congress 77002
(Background check must be approved prior to training and appointments for finger printing can be made at the orientation/training.)
 
To help in the School Program, Giddings School or Clemems Unit
 Request training specifics and background check information from
Carrie Leader, reVision, at 713-560-8753.
 
 
Work with incarcerated adults in prison ministry
Longtime Restorative Justice Ministry volunteer and member of Christ United Methodist (CUMC) in Sugar Land Betty Waedemon finds it deeply rewarding to volunteer in any capacity.  “RJM encompasses ministry to the prisoner, their family, the correctional officers and victims.  Each individual church can participate in some way that fits within their ministries.  At CUMC, we are located close to prisons and have members who go into prisons weekly and lead a Bible based program, such as Disciple; members who bake cookies for Kairos; children who make placemats for Kairos; UMW baby showers for offenders who have their babies with them in a special program...and everything in between.” 
 
How to get started in Prison Ministry
“A wonderful way to introduce church members to RJM,” she suggests, “is to go on a tour of a prison.” In Richmond, at the Carol Vance Prison, there is  a "Freedom Tour" which occurs the second Thursday of each month at 2 pm and 7 pm.  Adds Betty, “I have seen this one-hour tour, change lives! Most people enter the prison with much trepidation and leave with tears in their eyes and a desire to help.”
 
Thanks to willing RJM volunteers, Disciple Bible studies have also been happening at the Jester III unit for many years.  A visit to this program on Thursday evening can be arranged as well. Anyone that would like to attend a Freedom Walk or observe Disciple Bible study with inmates can contact Betty Waedemon at bbw1m@aol.com.
 
Volunteers who would like to work in RJM outside of the prison environment have many options. Here is a list of ways you can help someone have a “life makeover.”
 
2015 Restorative Justice Ministries Contacts
Angel Tree: Prison Fellowship – Tommy Dorsett - Tommie_Dorsett@pfm.org
Caring for Offender Families - Morris Fountain - mfountain@breadoflifeinc.org
Bridges to Life - John Sage - www.bridgestolife.org
Disciple Bible Outreach Ministry – Mark Hicks - mchicks@northstate.net
Freedom Bus Ministry - Beth Whittier - http://freedombusministry.com/
InnerChange Freedom Initiative - Tommy Dorsett - Tommie_Dorsett@pfm.org
Oaks of Righteous – Transitional Home for Ex-Offenders -  www.oaksoftexas.org
Restorative Justice Ministries Network - Bill Kleiber - kleiber@sbcglobal.net
re-Vision Houston – Helping At-Risk Youth – http://houstonrevision.org/
Skills for Life – Jim Arnold - http://www.skillsforlifepm.com/