As an uncle to Jason, I try to do all those things that we would encourage other family members of inmates to do. I visit him as often as possible and I write letters every couple of weeks with pictures, sharing my every day life with him. I send books to him, and read those that he recommends to me, giving us great conversation material. As a result, he has become a close friend.
Representing Speak Up for Hope, I also serve as a volunteer on the Montcalm County Mental Health Court Team along with friend and volunteer, Pat Wyckoff. Judge Hoort’s special courts (also includes a similar one in Ionia County) are a compassionate attempt to service some extra needy clients of Michigan’s criminal justice system.
The professionals on our team are caring and competent with specifically defined roles. Volunteers can find their own roles, not having to satisfy specific legal requirements, to meet our client’s needs, moving them toward success in their community.
Expected concerns for our clientele are transportation, housing, and finding meaningful activity (education, employment, friendships, hobbies, special interests). Pat is leading the effort to create a non-profit organization related to our court that could raise funds or gain grants for special projects to better meet these needs.
Volunteers are welcomed in existing organizations where you live. You could make a difference.