Societal violence is a big concern these days. As director of My Brother’s Keeper, a ministry that receives funds from Cumberland County to help men leaving corrections, one way you can make our world safer is by becoming a mentor to one of these men.

Our ministry, along with our companion ministry, My Sister’s Keeper, trains people to come alongside former inmates wanting a second chance. From finding housing, to securing employment, to providing for children, the challenges these individuals face can seem overwhelming. And the statistics indicate this! In a study that looked at recidivism in over 40 states, more than four in 10 offenders returned to state prison within three years of release.

But recidivism goes down significantly when a mentor gets involved. One community-based program like ours reports that the recidivism rate, one year after release from prison, has been 8.6 percent for adult offenders matched with a mentor.

Through weekly meetings, strong relationships are formed that empower these men to succeed in life. One man in our program says: “My Brother’s Keeper has given me another friend, an addition to my support system … someone I can go to for advice when I am struggling with something.”

My Brother’s Keeper has scheduled an informational meeting from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday in Room 203 at the Wishcamper Center of the University of Southern Maine, on Bedford Street in Portland.

We want to share with you how our ministry works and why mentoring can be such a powerful force for change in these men’s lives. We believe there is no greater feeling in the world than to help another person. There is free parking in the garage next to the center. See you Monday!

Rich Gustafson

director, My Brother’s Keeper

Portland