It’s important for our participants to learn how to give back to their community as they work toward reentry. As a pro-social activity, volunteering not only helps participants become active members of their local community, it also has the power to boost their mental and emotional health. For example, volunteers often feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in what they do.
Additionally, volunteer efforts at our centers encourage participants, staff and members of the community to come together as a team and for a common cause. This helps participants begin to feel like they belong and are accepted. It may also help them better interact with staff at our centers. Volunteering also allows participants to become acquainted with local resources available to them.
Recently, residents and staff from the Arapahoe County Residential Center (ACRC) in Littleton, Colorado, completed several community service projects to help members of their community enjoy the holiday season. Every year, the center adopts a family in need from Arapahoe House, a local nonprofit organization that helps single mothers who are not working and do not have housing. This year ACRC adopted a young woman with a 10-year-old son and a four-year-old daughter. Altogether, ACRC’s staff and residents raised over $200 for the family and purchased them gifts from their holiday wish list. Staff and residents delivered the gifts to Arapahoe House just before the holidays and was met with surprise and gratitude from the family.
ACRC’s volunteer efforts continued when staff and residents provided sandwiches, bottled water and clothing to the homeless population in Littleton and the greater Denver area. The recipients were very grateful for their help, especially during the holiday season.
“We are proud to have our staff and residents involved with community activities as a component of the reentry programming provided at ACRC,” said Tony Carochi, vice president of residential reentry services for the GEO Group. “Community involvement enforces the importance of positive actions, which assists in a successful transition back to society for our residents.”
Because of ACRC’s volunteer efforts, the center’s residents reaped the rewards that come from giving to others.