January to March of 2020 were a continuation of a successful 2019 as we expanded our volunteer team to start a Book Club with the young men in the Department of Corrections’ Youth Diversion Program using the Master Plan by Chris Wilson while also partnering with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Grace Community Church to hold workout classes for Ladies at the Patuxent Institution. We increased our presence inside, connecting with new boys and girls. Much of our effort focused on the Hickey School, Baltimore County Detention Center, Harford County Detention Center, and the Youth Detention Center in Baltimore City.
Then the pandemic came and shut us down completely for nearly 3 months, but God had another plan! unCUFFED was able to successfully pivot in this changing environment to focus on written communication, virtual visits, reentry and prayer.
Scroll down to learn more about how we have weathered this storm and how God has used this time to create stronger relationships between our kids and our volunteers!
Virtual Visits- Our programs
We are partnering with an amazing new ministry called 4th Purpose run by Josh Smith. Their core belief is: after retribution, incapacitation and deterrence the fourth purpose of incarceration should be transformation. Josh spent 5 years in Federal prison when he was a young man and now leads this ministry. 4th Purpose has provided us with a wealth of video and written content to use in our virtual classes. Watch a bit of this video or click on the talking points on the right to sample the quality of the content they provide.
Virtual Visits- Our Locations
We are conducting virtual visits and classes in the following institutions:
Hover over the pins to learn more!
Boys, Cheltenham (CYDC)- Learn more by clicking here
Boys, Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center (BCJJC)- Learn more by clicking here
Boys, Western MD Children's Center (WMCC)
Boys, Lower Eastern Shore Children's Center (LESCC)
Boys, Noyes, Backbone Mt. (BBMC)
Boys, Green Ridge Youth Center (GRYC)
Boys, Garrett Youth Center (GYC)
Boys, Victor Cullen (VC) (Males Only)
Boys, Hickey School- Learn more by clicking here
Girls, Waxter Center- Learn more by clicking here
Girls, Lower Eastern Shore Children's Center (LESCC)
- Noyes, Mt. View (Females Only)
Girls, Noyes, Mt. View (Females Only)
We find that it is important to share information about what our kids experience while incarcerated and as they interact with our volunteers. Below are three powerful stories to help illustrate what life is like and why our work is so vital.
The Four Pillars of Reentry Work
Hover over the box to learn more.
Connecting With A Church
Albert Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” When a boy returns home we help him make changes in his life and help him to choose a healthy community of people to postivlely influence him. For boys following their faith we connect them to a church, small group, or a community of believers.
Finding A Job
We feel strongly that a job instills a sense of worth and dignity in a young man. Work also provides a large disincentive to return to criminal activity. We make every effort to place boys in jobs and we have had success this year! The key is to place a boy who has a mentor that can actively encourage him to work hard and be a blessing to his employer. One young man's positive work performance can blaze a trail for others to be hired. Do you have a job opportunity you can offer to a young man?
Education, returning to High School, obtaining a GED, or even community college are also an important focus. We feel that education, the expanding of one's mind can be a key to living a safe and peaceful life while being able to support yourself.
Partnering With A Mentor
John recently began mentoring a young man from Towson, who spent 15 months incarcerated and was released as part of the swift pandemic decarceration. Currently, he is working, has connected with a church member at Sowebo Community Church and John is seeing him once a week to study the book of John while he pours through his Jesus Calling daily devotional on his own.
Looking forward to 2021
We urge you to remember our 2020 focus on the ‘But God’ verses in the Bible. In times of trouble God often has another idea. He doesn’t just redeem us for Himself. He also redeems our stories for Himself. What the enemy means for evil — to split our faith and families wide open – God uses for good. We are assured that God is strongly leading us to weather this pandemic storm as we walk a new path, fully reliant on Him in this uncertain time.
After a smaller than usual golf tournament and the cancellation of our annual fundraiser we are asking all of our friends, family and supporters to consider a generous end of year gift. We must replenish our war chest to fight satan and maintain a hedge of protection around our boys and girls.
Please walk alongside us to love and serve these boys and girls inside the facilities and in the streets of our communities; to provide mentoring, Bible Study, resources, employment services, connections to new people with new attitudes, and mostly to help us reveal the knowledge of Jesus Christ and His love which surpasses all understanding.
Thank you for your faithful support!
John M. Rusnak, Executive Director