The Difference a Friend Can Make

Social Share (1)

“....anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.” —Misty Copeland


Everyone needs a support system, regardless of what they are facing in life. Some of us are blessed to have good friends and mentors that we can depend on, while others struggle with a lack of support. For formerly incarcerated individuals, having a strong support system can be the difference between a successful reentry and recidivism (the tendency to repeat an offense or relapse into criminal behavior).


At The Way Back, we guide individuals newly released from incarceration to success in a new life with transformational support, services, and accountability. We share the journey with our clients, the challenges and the victories, because we believe that incarceration does not define a life—but a second chance can.


Walking through life alone

Many people who have been incarcerated are facing broken or strained relationships, or perhaps are trying to start fresh with new connections. Reentering society is hard enough when one is faced with the practical needs of finding housing, a job, healthcare, and transportation, let alone healing broken relationships or beginning new ones.


The support of friends and a strong community can make the difference between a successful reentry and recidivism. Many formerly incarcerated individuals are also facing mental health struggles from before their incarceration, or as a result of it. Being in a positive community is a source of strength for those who are facing challenges on multiple fronts. Having someone to talk to, hearing fresh perspectives and encouragement, and having a helping hand when needed can make a life-changing difference for someone navigating reentry into society after time in prison.


Unfortunately, many people face a great deal of societal isolation post-incarceration, which can increase the risk of substance abuse, depression, or recidivism. Becoming a part of an individual’s support network helps to build a stronger community, and gives someone hope for their future.


At The Way Back, we partner with men and women in our community to combat the negative effects of recidivism and to create opportunities and support networks for our clients as they reenter society.


The power of a mentor

“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” —Oprah Winfrey


Many of us are guided through life by parents, grandparents, or teachers. We have built-in mentors who teach us character and practical life skills and provide encouragement as we grow. Many formerly incarcerated men and women have lacked trustworthy mentorship in their lives, which may have contributed to the choices they made. Learning to trust someone to teach you is not easy, especially if you have never experienced the benefits of mentorship before.


But the positive impact of good mentorship is life-changing, especially for young people. Those who are reentering society after serving time in prison may need mentorship for:

  • Job interview and communication skills.
  • Navigating relationships.
  • Developing skills like how to follow a schedule and maintain a good routine.
  • Managing their finances.
  • Learning how to build healthy self-esteem and confidence.
  • Maintaining their living space, and more


Excellent mentorship can help someone to establish themselves in a job and community, to gain confidence and skills, and to start dreaming for their future. The impact of good mentorship can and often will carry through generations.


The joy of a shared journey

“But we are strong, each in our purpose, and we are all more strong together.” —Bram Stoker


The road to reentry is not easy for anyone, but the journey can be made so much easier, and more rewarding if an individual has people to share it with. Think about some of the biggest challenges and unknowns you have faced in life, and then think about the people who stood by your side while you faced them—they were instrumental to your success and made your achievements possible.


Remember the moments you have made progress or reached a goal. Who was the first person you wanted to tell so you could celebrate with them? Life (the happy and the hard parts) was not made to be lived alone, and our experiences and successes are made so much richer by the people we share them with.


Being a part of someone’s life as they grow and build is immensely rewarding, and as a mentor or friend you will not just give, you will also receive from the experience. At The Way Back, our volunteers and mentors are a vital part of our mission to empower individuals, restore families, and create safer communities—we cannot do it without you. This past year alone we have impacted 280 lives, provided 1836 services (long and short term), and helped our clients achieve 571 participant goals. We are making a difference, and you can be a part of that.


Giving Tuesday is November 28th

The Way Back guides individuals newly released from incarceration to success in a new life with transformational support, services, and accountability. We create a support system for our clients that helps launch them into a new life for themselves and their families. You can be a part of this by signing up to volunteer or donating.


This November, consider supporting us with a gift on Giving Tuesday, November 28th!