Matthew Jones* came to the Kitchener/Waterloo area to reside in a halfway house two weeks before Christmas, following his prison sentence. He was abruptly faced with his new reality -- no family to connect with, no friends to share life with and a new town to get settled into. As someone who would be deemed a senior citizen by the community’s standards, combined with his offending history, Matthew’s prospects for employment and housing were limited. The future was uncertain.
Matthew joined our Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) community, became involved on a number of levels and a circle of support was formed around him. Matthew’s circle suggested to him that his glass was half-full and not half-empty and that they would welcome the opportunity to journey with him as he entered into this next season of his life.
First on the agenda for Matthew was locating sustainable housing. With the assistance of faithful volunteers, we completed the task of securing a place to call home that backs on to a community garden that Matthew helps to weed and keeps watered. Last summer he purchased a camera and documented the growth of the vegetables as summer progressed and the vegetables were harvested.
Matthew also has a love of journalism and creative writing. This was a wonderful outlet for him while incarcerated and he has now created a beautiful journal that he shares with his circle members. This has led to a desire for more formal education in this area and, with that in mind, he is exploring entering College to study this subject more formally. Matthew has also discovered that he possesses the gift of hospitality and loves to cook and share meals with others. He welcomes the opportunity to share about his journey in CoSA, and the restorative practices that provide continuity for his life with newcomers.
*Names and locations have been changed for the security of individuals and staff.