There are times when you need to check just where we are and how much things have changed especially for the better. Last Saturday was one of those times for me. The photo was a tribute to my friend Mark Person (photo with Josh Tewalt /Idaho Department of Corrections Director). The event supported Mark for five years work in support of individuals returning to community from incarceration. We ARE making progress in the work to mainstream issues for those who are making the effort to face their past and become solid members of the state of Idaho.
I will be honest: It could be because we just moved. We also divided our staff into two groups which is new too. In addition, I am just getting over an assault on my body by the COVID virus with some interesting complications. Somehow these events allow me to see the need to work in a more positive light with all groups who served returning citizens. When life stresses happen (major illness & separation from workers in my case) it can be a time to reflect and assess the direction you have been going for a long period of time.
Two Reentry Locations? St Vincent de Paul Southwest Idaho has split the staff who meet and work with those just released. Why? The main location at 3217 W Overland Rd will see individuals in the first days of release. Good news here: we are now able to link to food from the St Vincent de Paul Southwest Idaho food pantry on the same site (not available before). Now at this location: support for clothing, hygiene kits for day one, food immediately and links to the other valuable resources we have always provided.
Exciting News! We have outgrown our current office setting! We decided to work closely with our coalition partners and make a change. It seems St. Vincent de Paul Southwest Idaho was in a similar situation. The result is our First Day Out Services will be moving to 3217 W Overland Rd on February 11th. Only those seeking assistance in the first days of their release will be seen here. We will continue to write vouchers for clothing, link them to resources, supply hygiene packets, and support them with personnel who have for the most part lived this experience.
Rarely are we asked that question, but the answer is vital to the ministry work of our office. First, understand that we pick up individuals from all institutions south of Gowen Field almost daily. Some are early morning pickups going to the Greyhound connection at Flying J on Federal Way in Boise (departures north between 7am & 7:45 daily). Others going West are departures from the Airport via Salt Lake Express which leaves at 8:15am.
We are looking forward to the new year and opportunities for those of us who are returning to home and community from incarceration. When we say “we” it refers to a coalition of strength in support from groups like St Vincent de Paul SW Idaho, Recovery Idaho, Just Leadership USA and Serving USA. These groups add to the long list of church sponsorship which makes the work we do possible. Just a few of those churches are Common Ground Biker Church, Vertical Church, Cloverdale Church of God.
BOISE — Jeremy Cunningham didn’t know who was picking him up from prison, but he certainly wasn’t expecting a familiar face. “Wait, I know you,” he said, shaking an older man’s hand with a broad smile on his face. “It’s a small world.” Cunningham, 43, was handed a small paper bag of his belongings in the detention center lobby in south Ada County and followed Mark Renick out into the drizzly Monday morning air.