To our dear friends and supporters!
Like all of you, Communitas has faced challenges this year like none we have seen before, testing our ingenuity, and our resolve to find new ways to accompany prisoners through a peaceful and safe social reintegration.
Whatever obstacles awaited prisoners upon release in the past, these have been amplified by the effects of Covid. Now, more than ever, our work must continue. Release eligibility dates continue to arrive, sentences expire, and men emerge from the rigours of prison life searching for dignity, for purpose, for their place in an increasingly complicated world. Where once our programs’ participants met in person to share, to discuss, to learn, to experience fellowship, they now must attend our activities through Zoom and other online means. At such a moment, when their social isolation is particularly acute, we cannot allow the virus to corrode the caring and supportive community we have striven, with your financial help, to offer these men since 1999.
Despite the new barriers, our activities endure. With your continued assistance we shall be able to maintain and adapt our role as a bridge between the larger community, and these individuals in need of models, of concerned guides, of a social anchor. Our signature Open Door platform has continued on Tuesday evenings with virtually no interruption, allowing volunteers, interested members of the public, and ex-prisoners to maintain a meaningful connection, engaging together in a structured examination of topics that are informative and relevant, or sometimes just fun.
Nor have we interrupted our provision of the vital Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA), a program with proven dramatic impact worldwide on recidivism rates. Alongside these activities outside the walls is our crucially important inreach to prisoners looking forward to rejoining free society in the near future. While Covid prevents us from performing in-person visits, we are maintaining contact by sending in letters of support and copies of our Sou’Wester newsletter as reminders that this enforced physical separation has not removed them from our thoughts and prayers.
In fact, rather than retreat in the face of Covid, with your generous support, we plan to expand our assistance, by offering our members digital literacy programs, and by presenting instruction in Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in the near future.
But these, and our core operations, are only made possible by your generous support, and once again, we look to you for financial encouragement. Tax-deductible donations can be made by mailing a cheque to our office at the address below, or by using the ‘Canada Helps’ donation feature on our website at www.communitasmontreal.org/donate.
Those of you who wish to learn more about our mission, and would enjoy an opportunity to hear from volunteers and the men who benefit from our programs, and ask any questions you may have, are welcome to participate in a Zoom Webinar we shall be conducting on December 7. An invitation with the Zoom link will be sent out on December 6.
Once again, thank you for your past support and your commitment in making our little community a safe and welcoming place for people in need.
3974 Notre Dame Street West, Suite B
Montreal, QC H4C 1R1