Do we make a difference?
I know that I have thanked you many times for the great assistance you and the other members of THE BRIDGE have given me, and I sincerely hope to be of assistance in any way I can to return the favor. As you know when I was released from jail I went directly to the shelter. After 2 months of searching I was unable to obtain work of any kind. There were too many other people waiting on the phones, and calls from potential employers were not passed on to me. After all no one wanted to hire someone whose phone number and return address were at the local shelter.
Although I received an assistance cheque of $250.00, enough for a small room and some toiletries for two weeks it was no time at all before I was homeless and living in the park and on God’s good humor. I was given your phone number and you must remember where you picked me up from on that cold rainy night and returned me to a warm bed of sorts at the shelter. With your assistance I received a cheque of $1000 and was able to obtain lodgings with a phone readily available on Nov. 7th. On Nov. 8th I registered for work with a local agency and started working on Nov. 9th ! Without your intervention none of this could have happened. Your intervention on my behalf with local Police and Probation are of incalculable value which has allowed me to “walk the difficult path of the straight and narrow” until I could count myself a success again, and stand on my own two feet.
I am enclosing a few pictures of my old camping spots (a cardboard box) in case you may find them of service to aid you in obtaining funds for your endeavors or explaining the need for ongoing support for THE BRIDGE program.
Best Regards: J. W. 2003 (Still Doing Well)
THE BRIDGE Group was, and is, so important to me at so many levels. I can relate to the topics and the volunteers are just fabulous and caring. I don't think I'd be as mentally and emotionally healthy as I could be if I had not attended." D.R. - 2006
I have started a new Beginning in my life with BRIDGE and it is helping me to learn about how I can live in the community and with my family. Paul W - 2005
Thank you so much for your gift of a “Discharge Kit” and travel bag. I thought I was going leave prison with all my possessions a garbage bag. Thanks to you I can leave all my garbage behind. Darren - 2008
I would like to Thank You for the wonderful supplies that you provided me with. It was extremely touching and kind hearted to be given help like that. Kyle G - 2009
INSIGHT CAN COME TO US IN THE MOST SURPRISING WAYS.
Christmas in the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Center
If you have spent any time with Garry Glowacki, you know he isn’t a man who is easily surprised. Garry works with youth at risk and although he may not have seen it all, he has seen a lot of kids in prison and understands that they badly need to know people who can be trusted and who can offer support. The ‘inmates’ in this story are young boys, all from the GTA and living in a serious jail.
Many of us might not expect inspiration or enlightenment from these kids but even so, a remark by a seventeen-year-old opened Gary’s eyes in a new way.
THE BRIDGE Prison Ministry is sponsored by a number of people and groups who choose to believe in its work with offenders, ex-offenders and sometimes even the soon-to-be offenders. For Christmas 2008, Toronto and Niagara Anglican Dioceses and the Living Rock offered donations for youth at risk and ministry to incarcerated youth. On Christmas Eve Garry and Rev. Al (Youth Chaplin and Director of The Living Rock) visited every young boy in the jail and hand-delivered their simple gifts. The boys enjoyed the short and quick visits and spoke appreciatively of the presents they received. No computers, sound systems, sports equipment or other expensive and noisy things beloved of adolescent males. A brown paper bag with some candy, chips, shampoo, toothpaste, and comic book ... things that are inexpensive but useful and maybe even interesting to the boys became Christmas presents.
Their obvious expressions of gratitude and their genuine “Thank You” were Garry’s first pleasant surprise. It was one of the boys that gave a second Christmas surprise to Garry.
"Hey, I’ve never had a Christmas present before!"
For all of us, that remark marks a jolt between our lives and the lives of others, especially youth in custody. While we try to tone down the excesses of the season, this lad reminds us that not everyone has the home and family support we take for granted.
Garry and THE BRIDGE want to provide such gifts again. A gift is its own sermon, a testament to the possibility of love in a world that has many lonely places. Will there be enough money in the budget? Maybe all of us can help with a Christmas contribution to bring some small gifts to youth in custody and a chance to surprise Garry again!
Send your contributions to this important ministry, which goes on all year round.
PO Box 143
Brampton, L6V 2K7