A year in review. Reflections from THRIVE Community members.
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As I prepared to write this letter to you, a member of THRIVE Communities who recently returned from prison asked if he could share something with you in his own words.  I enthusiastically said yes, and later that day he texted me, “I’m Singharath. THRIVE Communities to me is like a little lamp at the end of the tunnel that helps guiding me through the darkness—that’s for sure. THRIVE Communities lent me a hand. I am grateful for that!!!” He goes on to describe the team of volunteers who make up his Circle of Support and Accountability (CoSA) as the Dream Team,” a title his team has come to embrace and truly live into over the past four months.  Singharath continues, “Teamwork makes the dream work. Like ox, we work side by side pulling the cart.”

Don, a volunteer on Singharath’s Dream Team responded, “I am proud to see us working and learning together as Sing learns the notes of life in a radically changed world.”  The experience of journeying together described by Sing and Don is exactly what George (THRIVE co-founder) and I imagined when we cast the vision for THRIVE Communities in the spring of 2015.  We felt the severe disconnect between returning citizens and people already in community. George and I knew we could do something to bridge this divide, but we did not know just how ready community members were to take on the challenges of reentry alongside their neighbors transitioning from incarceration. 

This year, I have been overwhelmed by the outpour of support and personal interest people locally and throughout the country have expressed in THRIVE’s mission: To empower communities by creating spaces that welcome and support or neighbors transitioning from incarceration. In August, Shared Nation – an app where regular people all over the world vote for the issues and solutions they value most to receive grant funding – voted for THRIVE Communities over 63 nominated organizations world-wide to be funded!  In September one of THRIVE’s CoSA teams was highlighted during a National Public Radio (NPR) segment about one of our returning citizens who had been wrongfully convicted.  I received numerous calls and e-mails of support, gratitude, and encouragement for both our returning citizen and for the work we are doing in the community. Community members clearly want to play a part in ending cycles of incarceration and THRIVE Communities is providing the means to act.  Liana, a second member of Sing’s Dream Team, had this to say about her experience with THRIVE, “Being a member of CoSA is an incredible-powerful experience. Every week I continue to feel humbled and know that I’m making a difference.”

Thank you for empowering THRIVE Communities and making so much of this possible through the big and small things that you do! Last week, I visited two incarcerated men who have applied to be matched with CoSA teams in 2019. Their eyes became wide as I described the THRIVE Community and the fact that we have over 100 community members actively working to support neighbors returning from incarceration.  One man turned to me and said, “Are you serious? People don’t usually care about people like us.”  I shared a bit more about THRIVE Communities and he continued to express his surprise and deep appreciation for the people of THRIVE. While there remains a divide between incarcerated people, returning citizens and established community members, THRIVE Communities is bridging the gap one circle, one “dream team” at a time.

In 2019 THRIVE Communities will undergo a strategic planning process to help leverage and maintain the powerful momentum behind our mission. Will you make a special end of year gift to advance these efforts and help build a world where communities THRIVE?
A personal message from co-founder George Halfkenny:

It doesn’t matter if you fall five times, as long as you get up, Six.

After going through this re-entry process many times in the past, having a CoSA team around me this time really helped me in ways that I hadn’t had before. Having those five people be available to me in anyway I need it, to have them get to know me enough to be able to sense when I might be struggling, for always showing up and for believing in me when I gave them no reason to. When, I didn’t even believe in myself...

This experience has given me a new appreciation for all of the volunteers at THRIVE. I want to say thank you not only to my own team but to everyone in our bigger team, our bigger Community, the work you do is really appreciated.
Wishing you all the best in the New Year!

Kim Yeasir
Chief Empowerment Officer
THRIVE Communities
Give online or by check via Communities for Restorative Justice
THRIVE Communities is fiscally sponsored by Communities for Restorative Justice, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  Donations are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law.
When wholeness and justice replace cycles of incarceration and oppression, communities THRIVE.
THRIVE Communities of Massachusetts
175 Cabot St., Suite 100 - EforAll . Lowell, MA 01854
617-642-4553 . www.ThriveMA.org
Copyright © 2018 Thrive Communities of Massachusetts, All rights reserved.

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Thrive Communities of Massachusetts · 175 Cabot Street · Suite #100 (E for All) · Lowell, MA 01854 · USA

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