Best practices are specific, discrete ministry activities that measurably increase program scale, effectiveness, and/or efficiency, and can be replicated by other National Ministries. Best practices should be supported by evidence (data).
Volunteers represent your organization to prisoners and prison authorities. Ensuring they are well-trained in how to operate inside will build trust and credibility between your organization and the Corrections Institutions/Officials. High levels of trust and credibility invite opportunities for increased access to prisons and prisoners.
Consider developing this training in collaboration with Corrections.
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“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Today’s issue continues the series of Best Practices relating to volunteers that will run through the end of the year. As Andy Corley said in the last issue of Touchstone, volunteers are a constant source of inspiration. They are the unsung heroes in all that we do. If Tolkien were telling the tale of PFI, our volunteers might be in the position of Samwise Gamgee and Frodo, the two hobbit heroes in The Lord of the Rings. Sure, Gandalf, Aragorn, Elrond and many others were crucial to the mission. But the two hobbits went where nobody else could. Just like our volunteers.
“The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet it is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: Small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.” That is how Elrond, the Elven ruler, summarized the plan decided at the Council of Elrond in The Fellowship of the Ring. What was this plan? For two hobbits to walk into Mordor—the dark land or land of shadow—and attempt to destroy the One Ring of Power.
Our shared mission to transform the lives of prisoners, their families, and victims cannot be accomplished without our volunteers walking into the land of shadow. They do this not to destroy a ring but to destroy a lie – that there is no hope, that darkness has overcome the light. This is why the Global Impact team has launched the Best Practice series with a focus on volunteers. All of the other Best Practices are important and will follow – but without the right volunteers, the impact will fall short.
Today’s BP is accompanied by a list of Ground Rules about common prison security procedures and policies, provided by Hugh Greathead, senior regional director and global membership liaison, Europe and Central Asia. He may not be Tolkien, but he is our very own talented Englishman, and his rules are a must read. Also, in case you missed the last issue, please take a look at this year’s Week of Prayer resources and follow the link to download them. And please let us know what you think by taking our quick survey!
Pace e bene,
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.