By Lasca Randels
WARSAW — A new mentoring program is being developed at the Kosciusko County Jail.
Information was presented at a meet and greet held Wednesday, Aug. 12, at Pathway Church in Warsaw.
The purpose of the program is to provide support for those transitioning out of jail.
The event was hosted by Pathway Church Head Pastor Jarod Osborne, the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain. Osborne assumed the position of Chaplain at the beginning of the year.
The informal event was open to the public and provided an opportunity to meet Osborne and program leaders of the Kosciusko County Jail.
Speakers at the event included Courtney Jenkins, coordinator of the Kosciusko County Jail Chemical Addiction Program (JCAP); Dave Goshert, Chaplain of the Kosciusko County Jail Ministry; Tammy Cotton, coordinator of the Living In Transition Effectively (LITE) Program; Shane Coney, Kosciusko County Jail Commander and Osborne.
The mentoring program will be one-on-one. The mentor is intended to be a friend and stabilizing influence for someone who is making the transformation from jail.
People do not have to actually come to the jail to do this, Osborne said. Mentors will be trained and then each mentor will meet on their own schedule weekly with someone who has been released from jail.
“You don’t have to have any special skills to do that,” Osborne said. “You just have to be a good person who cares.”
Cotton encouraged those in attendance to “Be a light. We all need to let our light shine, let God’s light shine through us.”
“The more people that we can build up and help mentor and walk alongside those leaving the jail, the better our community is going to be,” Cotton said. “We’re not just going to be serving those who are incarcerated — we’re going to serve our community as a whole and we just want to build up a big team of warriors to do that.”
“I’m tired,” said Coney, the jail commander. “I’ve been doing this for 22 years and I’m tired of seeing the same people come back and back and back.”
Coney and Jenkins said the inmates have a good, solid program on the inside but support is lacking a bit on the outside.
“We’ve got to keep them from coming back,” Coney said. “We’ve got to break the cycle so that we don’t see their children and their grandchildren come back because it’s not the life they want.”
Jenkins said mentors are needed so that those transitioning from jail don’t relapse.
“We try to cover everything from the recovery side of things through all of the life skills they need so that when they leave, they’re prepared, but It’s a whole new world for them to apply what they’ve learned and that’s where the mentors become essential and crucial,” Jenkins said. “Drugs are everywhere and it’s very difficult to abstain when that has been your coping method for years.”
Jenkins said she often receives phone calls from former inmates.
“I am incredibly encouraged by their willingness to reach out and ask for that help,” Jenkins said.
Anyone interested in learning more about the mentoring program may contact Pastor Osborne via email.