For a little more than a year I have been serving as a volunteer facilitator with a program thru Goodwill Industries called, ‘Circles of Support: People Helping People Transition from Incarceration to the Community’. When I moved to Green Bay, WI almost two years ago, I knew one way to get to know my new hometown was to volunteer and as I began exploring options there happened to be a cover story about this program in a Sunday issue of the paper. Exactly what I was looking for: supporting members of a demographic faced with challenges and volunteering with a program that believes in restorative justice. Fast forward to today and I have learned so much about the lives of individuals who make a choice that results in them being incarcerated and the challenges they are faced with upon release.
I love what I do, but sometimes it is difficult.
I arrive at the home of a woman who will be joining our group to conduct her intake interview. She is in a wheelchair due to recent foot surgery and a back injury, living alone, in a home of a friend who just told her the house has been sold. The rest of her story left me feeling both heavy and thankful. Further details are not necessary and for the rest of the story, I will refer to her as Lady B.
I shared with the program director the critical state that Lady B is in, setting wheels in motion offering hope. I am still feeling both heavy and thankful. I know the why and I know how to shift yet I chose to stay with those emotions and allow them to move through me.
This is my Circles day. We meet each Thursday and I am hoping our newest participant, Lady B, will be joining us. While we offer a tremendous amount of support to the women of this group, one of our primary intentions is to let them see how they can make things happen for themselves. This instills a deeper sense of self worth, a greater feeling of empowerment and it is an honor to watch it happen. So we told her if she could get to the meeting a volunteer would get her home. She was there, smiling and eager to meet the other women in the group.
On my way to our meeting I began to wonder if Lady A, (one of our ROCKSTARS), still has her motorized scooter and if she does but is not going to use it, is there a way Lady B might get it. Increased mobility for Lady B would make a huge difference for her at this point. Due to a back injury operating a manual wheelchair is exceptionally difficult. I thought about how cool it would be if this worked out, a huge smile breaking across my face, I took a breath and let it go.
Halfway through our meeting Lady A shares that she sold her scooter and I felt my heart sink. But just for a moment because in the next breath she said the guy hasn’t paid her yet so she still has it!
Well, the energy in the room shot through the roof and within minutes a deal is struck and Lady B is now the proud new owner of a motorized scooter! And the look on her face was priceless! She called it a miracle!
The heaviness I had been experiencing since Tuesday was immediately stripped away; there was no room for it anymore!