WHO ARE WE?
Non-Profit Organization founded in August 2005 and registered as a Trust in 2012. Lead by Project Coordinator and Trustee, Maritsa Appollis MA(Social Work), who has been ministering to men in prison since 1997 as a volunteer religious worker.
The rest of the team (currently a total of 7 members) comprises of volunteer workers who render a variety of rehabilitation programmes to the men in prison, to ex-offenders on parole and to youths in some schools around Port Elizabeth.
To transform the lives of youths, adults and offenders through friendship relationships and rehabilitation programmes, while creating opportunities for life-changing encounters with Jesus Christ.
- To prevent young people from getting involved in crime through specialized intervention at a school and community level.
- To provide offenders with a range of professional rehabilitation services.
To meet the spiritual needs of offenders.
To strengthen offenders’ relationships with family and community.
To provide emotional support for offenders after release.
To establish a network of support in the community.
1. CRIME PREVENTION PROGRAMMES WITH "AT RISK" YOUTH THROUGH SCHOOLS INTO COMMUNITIES
Currently we present life skills programmes, with topics ranging from communication and conflict management to substance abuse prevention and respect for women, in the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth (where drugs and gangsterism is wide-spread problem), and we're involved with public speaking and short-term interventions at a number of other schools throughout the city as well. In addition, we present some workshops for parents (positive parenting skills) and teachers (assertiveness training) when asked to do so. At one of the secondary schools we started an emotional intelligence training programme for male learners who were on the verge of being expelled for bad behaviour, and teachers have thanked us for the marked improvement they've seen in these boys. Finally, we also connect learners from our programmes who have matriculated with job placement agencies, and have secured permanent employment for a number of them this way.
2. LIFE SKILLS PROGRAMMES, BIBLE STUDIES, OUTREACHES AND INDIVIDUAL COUNSELING INSIDE THE PRISONS
Currently we present bible studies, individual "life application" sessions and church services at the St Albans Maximum Correctional Centre here in Port Elizabeth, and we occasionally arrange special events behind bars. Furthermore, we make contact with family members on the behalf of inmates to repair broken relationships and/or to promote communication, we purchase small items such as phone cards, batteries and stationary for inmates in need, we correspond with those behind bars in Correctional Centres throughout the country, and at times we visit some of our clients in other places such as the Kirkwood, Middelburg and Kimberly Correctional Centres.
3. REGULAR CONTACT WITH AND SUPPORT OF EX-OFFENDERS NOW BACK IN THE COMMUNITY
Currently we are in regular contact with about 30 ex-offenders who are now on parole. Some of these contacts take place telephonically (especially if the person lives outside of Port Elizabeth), and some consists of personal visits. Over the past few years we have assited parolees with food parcels, clothing, toiletries, household items, spiritual material, referrals to other organizations, housing, etc. and we have attended at least two weddings so far!! In 2011 we also had a project called "Extreme Home Makeover: Jesus Edition" whereby we repaired/restored the homes of a few parolees in need. Finally, we recently embarked upon a job-searching partnership with local business men in order to find employment for our ex-offenders when possible, and thus far two of the men have found employment this way!
HOW CAN YOU HELP US?
1. Join Damascus Crime Prevention Services as a volunteer to:
- Visit prisons
- Correspond with an offender
- Help with crime prevention programmes
- Help with community education
2. Make a financial contribution
- Once off
- Contact us for more information on how to make a contribution
3. Pray for us