As a retired teacher, I came to the Benedict Center to tutor women for their GED's. I went to teach; but I learned. My eyes have been opened to the frustration and needs of the underprivileged and to the unfairness of the criminal justice system. The Benedict Center gets it! The staff provides programs that educate, empower, and direct women to get out of a seemingly impossible hole and get on with their lives. Impressive!
Our society is framed by large margins which are teeming with troubled individuals. Organizations and policies attempt to address the needs of the underprivileged, but rarely does one encounter one as effective and impressive as the Benedict Center. This organization brings women who have had legal and addiction troubles into a vibrant community. It is a place rich with opportunity and support, as well as discipline. Whether taking counseling, anger management classes, or working on their GED, most clients are empowered by their experiences there. Bravo!
At the Benedict Center I have have seen compassion shown for those who most people dismiss-- those who have been arrested for criminal activity. While talking with some of these people, many of whom have probably done things that I would find abhorable and some of whom may be innocent, I am reminded that, despite what they may or may not have done, they are people with special gifts and special needs who should not be locked behind doors only to be forgotten. Through the Jail Book Club I am able to bring in a piece of the outside world and a bit of humanity.
When I came to the Benedict Center to volunteer, I found whe staff very friendly and welcoming, and the women participants were extremely grateful for any help I could give them. All of the women at the center have had conflict with the law, and they come to better their lives. They learn to overcome many obstacles, such as poverty, homelessness, abuse, drug addiction, and crime. Yet, they are all treated with respect and dignity in order to build their confidence and self esteem. As a volunteer, I felt that I was making a significant contribution to their progress.