By Lasca Randels
WARSAW — A graduation ceremony for the most recent Kosciusko County Jail Chemical Addiction Program (JCAP) men’s class was held Friday, Nov. 12, at the justice building in Warsaw.
The program was launched in 2018 to address substance abuse issues suffered by many inmates and involves participation in classes that cover areas such as physical fitness, spirituality, life skills, leadership and financial counseling.
Ten men received certificates of completion. Graduates included: Seth Adkins, Charlie Steinman, Dustin Swindle, Killian Hilliard, Chase Brunau, Justin Lord, Jeremy Neibert, Matthew Hellums, Timothy Brink and Jacob Kizer.
Community members and JCAP mentors attended the ceremony in support of the graduates. During the ceremony, the men read prepared speeches expressing gratitude for the people and organizations who provided mentoring and support for them during their time with the program.
“It took me awhile to get into this program – I think about a year before I got accepted,” JCAP graduate Jeremy Neibert said.”I think it is a huge benefit to this community and it changed my life.”
Neibert thanked Pastor Bryan Lowe of New Life Christian Church.
“This man came into my life when I was fresh out of jail in 2019. I was really just starting my walk with God and I wasn’t sure about the man I wanted to be, but still he met me right where I was and didn’t judge me,” Neibert said.
“He came to me like a friend and supported me and my family during my walk and showed me love. Even after I relapsed and messed up bad with my life, still he met me with love and a hug and showed true care and concern, not just for me but for my family as well.”
The 10 JCAP graduates referred to each other as “brothers” often during the ceremony, and the sense of camaraderie was apparent.
The men stood at the podium together as Timothy Brink read a letter from the entire group to JCAP Coordinator Courtney Jenkins.
“We know you said we weren’t allowed to stand up for you, but let’s face it, we ain’t in here for listening,” Brink said, causing the crowd to erupt in laughter.
The letter read, in part, “We can never express the proper amount of gratitude, not just for all you have done for us but for what you have come to mean to each of us. I know I speak for every man up here when I say it only takes one person to believe in someone to inspire change in their lives and you have been that constant someone from the start to offer us hope and encourage us in the process of healing. You’ve created an opportunity for an intense change for those who truly want to live a life worth living.”
“This is not a one man show,” Jenkins said. “This is a community that pours into them. We’re just really lucky that there are people in our community that have the desire to help in different ways and play their part. It’s a unique situation where we have a sheriff and a jail commander who have been incredibly receptive in allowing us to come together in this format to be able to pour into people who would not have those opportunities right now in other circumstances so we’re really grateful for them.”