A Volunteer's Perspective by Kim
After I graduated High school, I decided to go to University to take a Justice and Law degree with the intention to working in perhaps corrections or the parole system. That didn’t happen as I began a job working with people with disabilities and 30 years later, that is still my career.
In 2008, our family went to Mexico to build a home for a family who lived in poverty and that trip for me was lifechanging. I had always spent time volunteering in the community however when I returned from that house building trip, I was determined to find a way to feel the same way I did on that trip while doing volunteering in the Winnipeg community.
In our church bulletin there was an opportunity to volunteer at Stony Mountain Chapel and it piqued my interest based on my previous schooling and looking for a new way to volunteer. I attended the one-day Stony retreat and began attending chapel regularly with the inmates as well as enjoying a coffee and visit after the service. There I was blessed to meet up with fellow volunteer Sister Carol who invited me to join the Next Step Peer Support group which I have been doing biweekly since 2009.
It has given me great joy to meet so many amazing men, each with their own story, who are human and full of value and not a statistic in the prison system. I enjoy being a listening ear, a friend to meet for coffee, a resource for things in the community to include attending a worshiping community, sharing a job lead or enjoying a night at the theatre. I have been blessed to learn so many things during our Next Step peer group support meetings: Enneagram personality system, non-violent communication and so much more. Listening to peoples stories, hopes and dreams as well as successes and struggles is a gift. I believe I have received more from Group than I could ever give and for that I am grateful. I look forward to our Thursday night get togethers and it continues to be a highlight of my week.
Next Step Program Volunteer, 2009 - Present