Here at Damascus Way, we’d like to believe that one of the markers of an organization’s success is the degree to which those who have been involved with the program maintain their ties with it. It is certainly the case that many of the men who successfully graduate from Damascus choose to walk out the doors without the thought of looking back or revisiting this season of their life. Some simply need to move on entirely in order to move forward. And in such cases, we are happy to bless and commission these men to return to the community as transformed and renewed individuals. It is especially meaningful, however, when a former resident stops by one of our sites for a short visit and some encouraging conversation. Often, they’ll return to share about career updates and exciting new things happening in their lives. We’ll hear about all manner of things: breakthroughs with personal struggles, the purchase of a house, membership in a church and a host of other testimonies. There will also be instances when a man returns because he’s in need of emotional or spiritual help. It is a privilege for us to provide this kind of support.
In the past few weeks, we’ve had a number of graduates stop by our sites to catch up with staff and to share about developments in their personal and vocational journeys. One man, who’d graduated in January, took his first day off in almost a year just to pay us a visit. He stopped by with a few bags of McDonalds for our staff and talked about how he’d just purchased and closed on a beautiful condominium in the suburbs. He highlighted how invaluable his time at Damascus Way had been and even how it was really actually a blessing, because it had allowed him to work full-time, which in turn allowed him to put money away so that he could eventually purchase a home. He considered his obligatory time in reentry as a gift in its own right and could not thank us enough for our role in helping mature and grow as a man taking full ownership and responsibility of his life.
Our Reentry Coordinators diligently work with our residents to prepare them for life after reentry. The Coordinators have a strong sense of where an individual is at in their progress and how prepared they are to walk out our doors equipped for success. The groundwork is laid from the beginning and cultivated along the way. Join us this month in celebrating and honoring the work of our team and the individuals themselves as they each continue to move on their own road to freedom.