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.