Learning with Harlen
"I began volunteering with
Future Hope's Next Step
program a couple years ago.
Originally, I began as a speaker
on subjects like Financial
and Communications. After
returning a number of times and
getting to know the great guys
whom Future Hope is helping, it became clear that I wanted to do more with them. Now I help present topics, meeting with people to discuss repairing or improving their finances, and help <the guys> with the resources they need when seeking employment.
The men who take part in the Next Step Program are people looking to make a positive change in their lives, and we at Future Hope, have the opportunity to help them do just that. It is greatly fulfilling to be able to work with people towards something better and to offer help that someone actually needs. It is enriching both ways and Future hope promotes such a positive environment for change!
If you want to be a light in someone's life and meet people hungry for change and a brighter future, then I will hopefully see you at the next Thursday night meeting!"
Kind regards, Harlen
PS - If you have an interest in volunteering at Future Hope, click here.
"I will never stop doing what I do"
I have been a volunteer with the Next Step Program for 16 years. I found out about Future Hope when a dear friend participated in a crime and ended up in prison. After he died at the St. Boniface Hospital with two police officers by his side, I knew I had to do something to help others. It broke my heart to see him in prison. I was even more heartbroken to witness how he died. I decided I needed to help others involved in the justice system. I wanted to reach out to those who might need a helping hand.
The Next Step Program helps the men while they are still in prison and continue to support them once they are released. A church friend invited and encouraged me to ... Continued from Newsletter ... start volunteering at Stony Mountain. I decided I would try it. We would attend the Chapel service at Stony Mountain where inmates could come to listen and pray. After the service, the volunteers would stay for coffee and chat with the inmates. This activity became a game-changer for me. These connections helped many of the men. Most of them did not have anyone visit them while they did their time therefore had no one to talk to during their incarceration at Stony Mountain.
I found these visiting moments to be very helpful for inmates but also for myself. I still very much enjoy doing this even after all these years. I also volunteer time in finding clothing for our program participants. I also love to bake treats for the guys when we meet for our Thursday night peer group support meetings.
This cause is very close to my heart! It is important to be compassionate and to help those who have had a tough time in their lives. Our program volunteers are such an excellent group of individuals, always ready to help. They reflect all age groups just like our participating inmates and parolees and this makes for a diverse and strong peer group. We are not there to judge but to learn from each other and accompany each other when one of us needs support.
I believe everyone deserves a second chance in particular individuals who have been incarcerated - they deserve a second chance at creating a good life for themselves. Not everyone believes as I do or can do what I choose to do as a volunteer. I love helping others and I know that my presence, support, and encouragement makes a difference in their lives. I find it enriching to help those that are so committed to changing and rebuilding their lives.
What I especially like about our Next Step Program is that it helps those who want to help themselves. Since Covid, it has not been possible to attend meetings in person, but we continue to meet and support each other via Zoom. I look forward to our get-togethers. Although I now live outside of Winnipeg, my wish is to attend in person whenever I can but if I cannot, having experience with the technology now, I can always be present by zoom – what a great tool to stay connected!