Concord Prison Outreach
by Win Wilbur
We are a group of volunteers who go into the two Concord state prisons with a two-fold mission: to aid inmates in their personal, educational and spiritual growth while incarcerated and to help them prepare for the transition to healthy and productive lives once they return to society. Some of the programs we offer are educational (tutoring men working towards their GEDs, teaching computer skills in Word and Excel, and improving English for those with limited English skills); others explore ways with imprisoned fathers to help them maintain communication with their children and help their children’s mothers with issues of discipline and schooling. To bring new skills and positive activities to these men, there are courses in Music Theory (with several fine musicians in the class, always), art, calligraphy and chess. Trained facilitators teach First Aid/CPR and Nutrition each year. Other short term classes relate to anger management, emotional awareness, job search skills for men soon returning to the community, and the nationally known, Quaker-created Alternatives to Violence workshops. CPO welcomes new volunteers with skills in these and other areas to join our programs. Community members are also welcome to join inmates at the Caroling Party held each December at the Prison Farm.
We are supported by gifts from individuals and from most of the area churches. Our work is non-denominational and non-political. Those of us who volunteer come from many faiths and none, but all believe in the intrinsic worth of every human being, and that lives can be changed and growth is always possible—we’ve seen it happen!
For more details, see our website: www.concordprisonoutreach.org, or call our Executive Director, Lenore James at 978-369-1430.