Last month, the RMO received a hand-written letter.
"Thank you for all the support & kindness you have given/shown to me over the last 2 years. If it wasn’t for the support of RMO I wouldn’t be where I am today.
I promised myself when I was able to, I would pay it forward.
I hope this can make a difference to someone just as the help I received made a difference for me. Keep on doing the wonderful work you do, you are an amazing inspiration to many, as is the whole RMO family."
With tears in my eyes, I noticed something enclosed with the letter.
It was a check for $1,000.
Two years ago, this former participant, who asked to remain anonymous, came to us overwhelmed and struggling with barriers too numerous to count. Two years ago, this participant, who is now able to pay it forward, was on the verge of becoming homeless and spoke often about how hopeless and depressed she felt about her situation. Two years ago, the dismal national recidivism (failure) rate of 43% stared her in the face as she struggled with life after prison.
But then her parole officer encouraged her to start attending meetings of the Lancaster County Re-entry Management Organization’s Successful Returning Citizens Mentoring Support Group. She was accepted into the RMO intensive program at TLC and was provided temporary housing. She obtained skills assessments and training services that led to a job. The RMO Compassion Fund helped pay for specialized clothing and tools. An RMO case manager helped her create a budget and start saving money and even took her to look at apartments when she was ready to move out on her own. Other RMO partners provided food and clothing, transportation, and help with utility bills.
Today, while still challenged in some areas of her life, she has a level of confidence that she certainly didn't seem to have a few years ago when we first started this journey with her. She has remained crime-free (like 85% of RMO intensive program clients!). And she has even taken the initiative to do some volunteer work with the RMO, offering encouragement and support to other returning citizens.
The TLC program receives referrals from the Lancaster County Re-entry Management Organization (RMO). The Mission of the Lancaster County Re-entry Management Organization is to achieve safer communities through reduced recidivism by providing support and assistance to transitioning inmates through an intentional network of faith-based and community organizations in partnership with the criminal justice system.