First Christian Church member Holly Brown is a social service clinician who works at the Kentucky State Reformatory (KSR) in LaGrange. One of her roles is to help lead the STAR program (Striving Towards a Recovery).
The STAR program is housed in the mental health unit at KSR and serves about 50 men ranging in age from 18 to 83. all of whom have at least one diagnosed mental or emotional illness. Most of them have schizophrenia or bi polar disorder, though there are others as well.
The STAR program is a six month program with the goal of teaching the men the tools needed to live in the prison's general population. They are taught how to handle the routines and skills needed to live within the prison structure, which can be very hard at times.
Because of their incarceration and, at least in part, because of their illness, most of these men have little if any contact with family or friends outside of the prison so any attention from the outside makes a huge impact in their experience of life.
To help the men experience the kind of care and compassion they don't always receive, Holly applied for a wholeness grant to make their daily lives a little better. She purchased personal care items such as soap, toothpaste, and tooth brushes as well as some paper back bibles for them to use.
The three pictures included above help tell the story in a powerful way. Here are descriptions of each:
The first picture is a thank you card that was made and signed by recent members of the STAR program as an expression of their appreciation for all that First Christian and Holly have done for them.
The second is the picture of a man who has lived at KSR for 15 yrs. He use to always scream and cry and had to be on lock down status, where he is seen in this picture being comforted by a guard. The STAR program helped him to reach a place where no longer isolated in lock down and no longer cries out through the day. He is one if the men that actively benefitted from the care of First Christian Church. (Picture used with permission)
The third picture is of a man serving a life sentence. Because of the severity of his illness, he has remained on the mental health unit for almost a decade. The STAR program as helped him find hope and healing as well as given him a sense of joy and meaning. He too benefitted from the care of First Christian. (Picture used with permission)
If you would like to learn more about the STAR program, please e-mail Holly Brown.
The wholeness grant used to fund this ministry was made possible through your faithful financial support of our church and its ministries and help fund a variety of efforts to make our world a better place. You can find more examples of those efforts or apply for a grant to make the world a better place by clicking here.