May 31, 2024
March 2022

Powerful penpals.

Writing proves useful for maintaining healthy support networks.

Pathway Volunteer Coordinator Renee Jones writing to our Tu Ora

Pathway Volunteer Coordinator Renee Jones writing to our Tu Ora

We’ve been working with a couple of guys who have been in prison for a really long time however, their release conditions have prevented them from being able to stay in Canterbury after their release.

We don’t let physical distance prevent us from being there for them, as they work to rebuild their lives on the outside!

We’re their people and, for men who often don’t have many other positive support networks in their lives, that’s important.

So our Volunteer Coordinator Renee and the amazing volunteer who runs our writers’ group Jane started writing to the men so they could maintain those healthy support networks. 

However, recognising that with their various other responsibilities the workload wasn’t sustainable, Renee recently engaged a writing mentor to maintain that correspondence, video calling the men to ensure they were happy and comfortable with the change.

Jeremy, our mentor, drops off his letters and we deliver them to the men. They’ve now built solid long-term relationships and the men know they’ve got someone to reach out to whenever they need additional support.

We know that when our Tū Ora feel valued, their likelihood of reoffending is reduced. Taking the time to stay connected is one way we can show value. 

“One absolutely loves cars, so every letter he includes a cut-out of a different car, the other was part of the faith-based group in prison, so he always includes beautiful scripture that aligns with his journey,” Renee says.

Names have been changed.

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