While many of our members are familiar with FCC's worship experiences at New Life in Christ Christian Church, a church located at a prison halfway house, there is another equally important partnership that exists between our church and New Life in Christ.
That partnership is a volunteer mentor program called, Nurture, Support and Accountability Groups (NSAG).
The Reverend Dean Bucalos, lead Pastor at New Life in Christ, has trained groups of volunteers who have a heart to help women exiting the program. Women interested in the program sign up and are matched with a team of trained volunteers. Prior to release, the group gets to know the individual to try to assess their situation and needs. Depending upon that specific need, the NSAG will meet as often as needed as a group or individually with the participant to help them transition back to society. Most women come out of the program with little to their name. They will have a place to stay (arranged at a local halfway house or some go back home) but that is all. No transportation, no resume, no phone, no food and only the clothes they came with.
A Wholeness Grant from First Christian Church is being used to provide “starter kits” for these women who need a little help to get through the transition. An allocation of up to $500 per participant will fund the following items depending upon need: $50 for a monthly TARC pass, $55 for the first month of phone service, $20 for ID, $100 gift card to Kroger for food and personal items and $200-$300 towards the weekly fees for the halfway house which range from $75-$100 per week depending upon the facility.
While we have had multiple NSAG groups at First Christian, this is the first time the church has been able to afford offering this essential financial support to group participants. In doing so, we are taking some of the pressure off of the participant so that she can focus on getting a job and staying clean.
If you are interested in learning more about this ministry, please feel free to contact Leslie Faust, a member of First Christian who wrote the grant proposal and serves on an NSAG group. You can also learn more about Mission Behind Bars and Beyond by visiting their web-site.
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.