On April 4th, 2017, Released and Restored launched its 20-week, Life Skills/Re-Entry Prep program, to men living in the Veteran’s Unit at the Nebraska State Penitentiary. We are delighted that we exceeded our expectations with 14 individuals signing up and participating in this program, which we normally cap at 12 individuals.
These 14 men are fully engaged and very, very respectful of one another and of us. We are honored and proud to be working with these Veterans who have so nobly served our country. We look forward to building relationships with them, learning from them, and giving them hope and confidence for their future.
For the months of February, March, and April, we have had the joy and privilege of having four students from Concordia University join us, for their service-learning project, as we provide our Jobs Readiness/Life Skills program at the Adult Detention Facility in Lincoln. Ashton, Justus, Liz, and Grady brought open minds, empathy, wisdom, and dedication to each and every class session.
We are forever grateful for their time and commitment of being there, and for the hope they gave each and every participant
Here’s what they had to say:
Liz – “The men’s attitudes are what makes this experience so positive for me. I was nervous initially because I didn’t think many of the men would take the class seriously, but they are incredibly driven and want to be in the class. I think they understand that we are taking the time out of our day to come out and teach them, so they are not taking it for granted. It’s so inspiring to me to watch these men not give up, despite them being incarcerated. In my personal opinion, I could see myself falling into a deep pit of self-pity if I was in their situation, but they see this as a learning experience and are ready to take a step in their life to better themselves. I am blessed to be a part of that milestone in their life. ”
Justus – “One of the biggest positives of this experience has been my newfound perspective of inmates. I can honestly say that these men deserve a second chance and the stigma that is attached to have committed a felony is ill begotten for the men that I work with every Tuesday and Friday. Not only that, but these men have lives but the crimes they commit took them away from. The men that I work with freely admit to having commit these crimes and repent for having caused harm to not only the victim and their families but also society as a whole. Being able to talk to the inmates every Tuesday and Friday is honestly the best part of my day. I love how ready to learn they are and their eagerness to change their lot in life. I wish more of my fellow students would take their passion for learning to classes here at Concordia.”
Grady – “Helping men out who have had trouble in their recent life and seeing them accept the help and to actually want the help. Normally people in jail think they’re too good and won’t accept the help from programs who come into the jail. They have improved from the beginning and it is so rewarding to see this.”
Ashton – “Being able to give the men our experiences and provide them with feedback on homework and their interviews has been great. They look up to us even though we are younger than them and probably have less experience in life than they do. They are respectful and we all laugh, make jokes, and have a good time. We still get a lot of work done though.”
Numbers Served Update:
We are proud to announce that we served 317 individuals in 2016!
Safe Haven continues to provide a weekly opportunity for safe and sober fun and fellowship for all who attend, participants and volunteers.
Safe Haven meets every Saturday 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
2400 South 11th (11th & Lake)
St. James UMC
We look forward to seeing you there!
Fans gathered on August 27, 2013, at St. Mark’s Family Life Center to hear Ricky Simmons, former Husker football receiver (’83) and NFL player talk a little about football and a lot about his life off the field. The event raised $5,000 for Released and Restored, a nonprofit working to provide inmates and ex-offenders with access to the tools and the support systems they need to learn how to live productive, moral, ethical, and legal lives in neighborhoods and communities.
Nearly 200 supporters listened to Simmons’ story of hope, recovery, and the importance of a network of support. Despite his traditional, hands-on upbringing by involved, highly educated parents, Simmons quit the NFL to be a full time drug addict, which led him to prison. A letter from Coach Tom Osborne inspired the motivation Ricky needed to recover and find renewed purpose in his life.
Ricky’s story provided insight into the issue of prisoner re-entry back into the community. His story was followed by a question and answer session with Released and Restored Executive Director, Ruth Karlsson.
Financial support was provided by sponsor Ah’Roma Coffee and numerous underwriters.