HistoryMay 3, 2013 | Hope of Freedom | Leave a comment
It all began when a group of people decided that the Slavic community, themselves included, had ignored the issue of incarceration for too long. Russian/Ukrainian-speaking inmates had been going without spiritual guidance or resources from their community for too long. Something needed to be done.
These realizations lead to the birth of “Hope of Freedom” in April of 2009.
From the very beginning, the role of Hope of Freedom was four-fold:
- Minister to inmates
- Minister to families of inmates
- Educate the public
- Recruit volunteers and mobilize groups
What we do for inmates:
- Lead Russian-language services and Bible in prisons and jails,
- Minister one-on-one through jail chaplain visits,
- Send materials to facility chaplains for their chapel libraries (for inmates to read/watch),
- Correspond with inmates through the mail,
- Send Bible study materials directly to inmates, and more.
- We offer some post-release support such as finding resources, and if possible, connecting with recovery houses.
What we do for families of inmates:
- Provide moral support for the families and friends of the incarcerated,
- Refer to resources, legal help, and deportation information,
- Explain the rules of detainment and judicial process
This is crucial as many of the parents do not understand English well enough to read the guidebook of the facility of detainment and do not understand rules regarding visitations, mailed packages, sending money to inmates, and so forth.
In the Slavic-origin community we visit churches and events to:
- Educate the community on crime, domestic violence and consequences, prison statistics, and drug use. Our goal is to reach at-risk youth and families before they break the law and are incarcerated.
- Highlight the great need in Slavic volunteers, both as visitors and as pen pals. We help churches form volunteer ministry teams and connect them to their local jails and prisons.