Another form of isolation to look at this month is prison. It’s a necessary thing to punish people when they do wrong. But, everyone makes mistakes. What makes the man or woman is what they do once the mistake is made. Many need support to get through the tough times. There are some churches or communities who have prison ministries. These dedicated men and women write letters to people who are in prison to give them hope during their incarceration.
Once released, the former prisoners have to make a choice. They can stay on the path that they chose before prison, or create a new path. This new path takes hard work and dedication. Many carry the stigma of having gone to prison. Many need a leg up. St. Leonard’s House in Chicago, Illinois offers that leg up, providing housing, life skills programs, substance abuse treatment and counseling, education and employment services and many other opportunities to begin their new life. Volunteers can help out in a myriad of ways. One important way is to share a meal with residents. This breaks through the wall of isolation and lets some light through.
I’ve said it before; just knowing that someone cares can be enough to turn someone’s life around. Whether you choose to show that you care in person or through a letter does not matter. What matters is that you show that you care.