The term "equity" addresses not just a leveled playing field; that is "equality", but rather an acknowledgement that a person, or group of persons have had systemic barriers placed in their path that cannot be remedied simply by removing the barriers. If someone has a shackle on her or his ankle, then simply moving them to the same "starting line" where everyone else begins the race isn't equity. It may be "equality" in the generic sense of the term, but not equity. Moving them to the same starting line as everyone else AND taking off the shackle is how we achieve equity for those who have been heretofore disenfranchised.
Trusted Mentors is a non-profit organization that provides volunteer mentors to adults at risk of homelessness, ex-offenders re-entering society, and young adults aging out of the foster care system.
Saturday, December 12, 2020
Trusted Mentors, Equity and Inclusion - from a mentor's perspective
Thursday, October 1, 2020
This article appeared in The Criterion, a newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis
Corrections Corner / Ed Witulski
Trusted Mentors aims to help offenders re-enter society
Re-entering society from prison often presents a series of obstacles that are difficult to overcome, so people give up.
Since its founding 16 years ago, Trusted Mentors has responded to a vital need in Indianapolis to help people in poverty and at high risk of homelessness achieve stable housing and progress to self-sufficiency.
We provide trained, volunteer mentors to adults at risk of homelessness, ex-offenders re-entering society, and young adults aging out of foster care.
We train, assign and support volunteer mentors to enable at-risk adults to stabilize their lives and succeed in reaching new goals. We partner with multiple agencies in Indianapolis that serve those at risk of homelessness and provide mentoring for the adults they refer to us.
Trusted Mentors is the only agency in Indiana to offer mentoring to at-risk adults. On average, over the past five years, when the relationship lasted 90 days, 95% of our mentees achieved stable housing, and 90% of ex-offenders did not re-offend.
Trusted Mentors has continued to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mentors have helped their mentees file taxes, learn how to receive and spend their stimulus checks, plus provide important human relationships.
One mentor, Charles, says he has had more contact with his mentee than ever before. “Arlonzo is opening up more. He’s a cool dude in search of putting his life back together and is doing great at Ivy Tech.” Arlonzo is a young adult involved in the criminal justice system and is working to move forward with his life.
Brent and his mentor Bob were matched in mid-2018 as Brent re-entered society after decades in prison. He wanted a mentor because he had been out of society for a long time, and knew it would be hard going back. Bob shares that Brent has, “never missed a day’s work while having to get up at 4:30 a.m. to catch the bus and walk several blocks from the bus line to be on time at 8 a.m.”
Brent set a budget, including saving 10% from every paycheck for unexpected needs such as helping his mother pay for an emergency medical service. Brent has improved employment with the goal of moving into better housing and establishing stronger family ties.
Bob says, “This kind of ‘goal setting’ strategy is why I am proud of Brent. He is a humble man willing to do what it takes to establish the life he wants for himself and his family. He is succeeding because he isn’t letting his history define his future.”
Bob adds, “Whenever I ask him what during his time in prison gave him the positive attitude he has toward the future, his response is always, ‘during my first 10 years I spent 24/7 trying to figure out how I could do what I did without getting caught. Then one day I thought, what a waste of time! What I should be doing is something that would keep me from coming back once I get out.’ ”
(Ed Witulski of Trusted Mentors is a member of the archdiocese’s Corrections Ministry Advisory Committee. A member of St. Monica Parish in Indianapolis, he invites you to meet with him to discuss mentoring by calling 317-590-6970, or e-mailing email@example.com.)
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
We can overcome life’s tragedies with the help of a friend
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
The Impact of COVID-19 on People in Recovery
Thursday, February 27, 2020
Announcing the 2020 LIFT Award winners to be presented at the Empowerment Luncheon!
Mickey Hollinquest, was nominated by his mentor, Mike Caskey. Mickey is a graduate of the Changing Lives Forever program at St. Vincent de Paul and they were matched in early 2018. Mike says “On our first meeting Mickey already had a list of goals made out all we had to do is to get everything in motion.” Since that meeting, Mickey has obtained a driver's license, which took a few try's but he never gave up. He became employed at Mission 27. To get to work, he rode a bus plus walked an additional mile to get to the store. To this day he has not missed a day of work and because of his work ethic has become a favorite. Mickey saved enough money to purchase a vehicle and move into his own apartment. This past Christmas, Mickey got donations from family and his own pocket to buy gifts for children at Riley Hospital. He organized a few family members to wrap gifts and on Christmas Eve Mickey and his family delivered more than 40 gifts and stuffed animals for the kids at Riley. Riley Hospital has recognized Mickey for his efforts.
Mike says: “Mickey is a driven individual and only see's the good in people. When organizing the gifts for Riley Hospital he wanted his family involved to show them the importance of giving back. He is very conscious on succeeding in all of his endeavors and he wants everyone around him to do the same. Mickey has no quit or I can't in him.”
Brent Smith was nominated by his mentor Bob Tharp. They were matched in mid-2018 as Brent re-entered after decades in prison. He wanted a mentor because he had been out of society for a long time and knew it would be hard going back to talking and getting to know real people. Bob shares that Brent has “Never missed a day’s work, or was late for work while having to get up at 4:30 am to catch the bus & walk several blocks from the bus line to be on time at 8:00 am.” Brent set a budget, including a savings account of 10% from every paycheck for unexpected needs, such as helping his mother pay for an emergency medical service. Brent has improved employment with the goal of moving into better housing and becoming married to his fiancé in 2021.
Bob says: “This kind of "Goal Setting" strategy is why I am proud of Brent. He is a humble man willing to do what it takes to establish the life, and the style, he wants for himself and his family. He is succeeding because he isn't letting his history define his future. When I ask him "What" during your time in prison, turned you onto the positive attitude you have toward the future"? His response has always been the same, "During my 1st 10 years I spent 24 hrs. per day, 7 days per week trying to figure out how I could do what I did without getting caught. Then one day a thought came, what a waste of time! What I should be doing is something that would keep me from coming back once I get out".
The Community LIFT Award is presented to The Bail Project Indianapolis . Since, its 2018 launch, the Indianapolis Bail Project posted bail for more than 275 people and its clients have returned to 95% of their court appearances. The Bail Project was nominated by Manon Bullock because they deeply believe in the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. In today’s criminal justice system, poor people can become victims of the system, not necessarily because they are guilty but because they can’t afford bail. They sit in jail while the ones who can afford bail get out. Then they might plead guilty to lesser crimes so they can at least go back home, resulting in a criminal record that could have been avoided. The Bail Project is doing the hard work on the front lines by ensuring that people don’t have to sit in jail and lose their jobs and homes while they are awaiting trial. The Bail Project does this by providing bail money, offering pre-trial support by helping clients to find jobs and housing, texting them in-court reminders and in some cities, arranging for child care and transportation to reduce barriers that can prevent them from making it to their court date.