Awareness is step one if we want to bring change in any arena of life. Second is choosing to move forward with the knowledge we have. Every week I will feature a different organization (some local, some national) and give you the practical steps you can take to be a part of what is happening in this world. I encourage you to explore and find the thing that sparks your passion. That thing is what God is nudging you to do!
This weeks feature: Alongside Ministries
This organization reaches out to men and women in our prison system. I have the privilege of being part of this ministry as a volunteer. This heart of this ministry is to do exactly what their name says: to come alongside men and women as mentors while they are in prison. Each man or woman who is accepted into the Alongside program is paired with a mentor who comes into the prison weekly to meet with them. When the men and women in the program are released, their mentor picks them up at the gate and takes them to either the men’s home or the women’s home Alongside provides while they are being rehabilitated back into society.
Alongside also provide weekly Bible studies, and once a month “Big Church” as the inmates call it, in every yard. I am honored to serve as a “Big Church” speaker once a month. I cannot begin to explain the impact this ministry has had on my life. Listening to these women explain what it means to know God’s love and mercy has changed my life.
Often, men and women coming out of prison don’t have a healthy situation waiting for them. Some are even homeless upon their release date. The cycle that got them into prison is almost impossible to break if no one is there to walk with them through rehabilitation. Men and women are meeting Jesus through this program, and breaking cycles so that they can live as disciples of Jesus. It is beautiful to watch this ministry in action.
If you are interested in serving this organization, here are a few of the ways you can help:
Mentors. Alongside can only accept applicants when there are mentors to pair them with. There is always a need for women and men to come in to the prisons as mentors.
Monetary: You can qualify to receive a dollar for dollar tax credit up to $400 for singles and $800 for couples. Donations received before 12/31 may also allow us to receive an additional $25,000 through the Impact Arizona Program.
Hygiene: There is always a need for some of the basic necessities when the men and women come out of prison. “Survival kits” as they are called, are always needed.
Vounteer: There is always a need for more Bible study teachers, worship leaders, big church speakers and mentors.
The website lists many other ways to be involved. If you would like to find out more about Alongside, and ways to help, visit their website:
No one can do everything, but everyone can do something!