The Prison Outreach Ministry/Welcome Home Reentry program which receives funding from Montgomery County recently received national recognition by the Defendant/Offender Workforce Development (DOWD) Conference for its successful partnership with the Pre-Release and Reentry Services Division in the County’s Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (DOCR). The program was selected to receive the Migdalia “Miggie” Baerga-Buffler Award which recognizes a faith- or community-based organization that promotes offender workforce development through partnerships with local, state or federal agencies, and advocates for policies and practices that support successful reentry.
Since 2006 the Prison Outreach Ministry/Welcome Home Reentry Program has partnered with DOCR’s Pre-Release and Reentry Services Division to provide mentors who help hundreds of clients at the Pre-Release Center in preparing for, finding and securing jobs. The program recruits volunteer mentors, primarily through houses of worship of various religious persuasions. Mentors provide mentees with a sense of belonging, positive ties to the community, compassion, empathy and practical knowledge. Mentors tailor individualized plans to address mentee needs, such as transitional and permanent housing links, job training and employment, healthcare, mental health and substance abuse treatment, family counseling, life skills and financial training, and education. The program has had over 65 mentors who, collectively, have contributed over 5,000 hours of service to their mentees.
“The Prison Outreach Ministry mentors have been particularly valuable in supporting our work release mission,” said Pre-Release and Reentry Services Chief Stefan LoBuglio. “For the past three years, these mentors have played a critical role in assisting our work release staff by providing employment services to our clients. They have assisted with resume preparation, supervised our career resource center and served as intermediaries with employers to help our clients get jobs. This prestigious award is well-deserved and I am delighted that this successful collaboration between a faith-based organization and correctional department is receiving national attention.”
The DOWD award is the second national recognition of Prison Outreach Ministry. This program was also selected for a National Association of Counties award in 2008 for their collaboration with the Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation.
The DOWD award will be presented at the annual conference in Dallas, Texas, April 5 – 8. For more information about the award or the DOWD conference, call 240-773-4200.
# # #