TDCJ Volunteer Services Newsletter December 2014

Texas Department of Criminal Justice Volunteer Services

Volunteer Services Newsletter December 2014


Angel Tree


All of the stockings were hung by the chimney with care, carrots were on the lawn for Rudolph and the other reindeer, while a plate of warm colorful sugar cookies along with a glass of cold milk were ready to greet Old St. Nick on his visit to the Baby and Mother Bonding Initiative (BAMBI)

Gift wrap party

Every year at Carole Young Medical Facility (CYMF) Prison Fellowship hosts a Gift Wrapping event.  A designated room is transformed into a "make shift" toy store.  The selected participants wrap gifts brought into the unit by volunteers along with Christmas Cards and plenty of treats for all to enjoy.  Typically 25 to 30 offenders attend the event and select gifts for their children to include toys and clothing.  The offenders wrap the gifts to be delivered to the caregiver's house.   The purpose of the event is so the children can receive presents directly from their mom along with a Christmas card.  The kids light up at delivery of their gifts knowing their mom loves and cares for them even while in prison.

Angel Tree is BEYOND gifts; it is an opportunity for summer camp and mentor services for children with an incarcerated parent

IFI angel tree 2014

Angel Tree is a Prison Fellowship program that connects parents in prison with their children through the delivery of Christmas gifts. In most cases, local church volunteers purchase and deliver gifts and the Gospel to children in the name of their prisoner-parent.  Learn more about how you or your church/organization can become involved in Angel Tree...

Volunteer Spotlight - Halbert Unit

Ms. Hahn

What do you expect from a 90 year old?  Most would say they have earned and deserve all the down time they want.  But a select few are still very active and TDCJ is blessed to have Nora "Imogene" Hahn, a 90 year old volunteer who has been actively volunteering at the Halbert Unit in Burnet, Texas for the last 12 years.

In these dozen years, Imogene has been volunteering with the New Life Behavior class from the Church of Christ in Marble Falls and Bertram.  New Life Behavior class helps one to integrate what a person thinks, feels and does as illuminated by Christian scriptural truths.  As Imogene puts it, “I am helping to change the attitudes and lives of the ladies who attend, knowing that Christ is willing to forgive if we repent and He’ll help in changing our lives.”

Imogene has had a very full life, helping our troops by working as a Parachute Rigger at Cannon AFB in Clovis, NM.  She was married for 63 years and has 4 children, 2 were adopted.   She has taught Bible classes all her life from toddler to 6th graders at her church.

One early experience that made a deep impression on Imogene was the fact that so many of the ladies had never finished anything in their lives that was worthy of a certificate.  She saw the ladies faces glow with accomplishment and pride of being able to complete something for the first time in their lives and be recognized with a certificate.  “Her spirit is incredible.  To see someone coming out to visit us each Sunday night.  I see the beauty of Christ in her and she is truly a lovely lady.  I really enjoy hearing her poetry readings which are touching and inspiring", stated one offender participant.

For Imogene, she’ll continue to volunteer as long as she is able to walk and as long as she is able to contribute something.  She enjoys reading poems and contributing through discussion of the Bible scriptures.  For other volunteers or for those who may think about volunteering she states, “It is the MOST REWARDING THING THEY COULD DO...It must also be a priority in your life.”  It is one of the many joys in her life. 

The agency wants to thank Mrs. Hahn for her continued service and for serving as an inspiration to the offenders and staff at the Halbert Unit.  To learn more about volunteering with the New Life Behavior class contact the unit chaplain or unit administration at the Halbert Unit.

Are you CONSIDERING being a TDCJ Volunteer?

The Carol Vance Unit in Richmond, Texas offers the Freedom Walk Tour.  The Freedom Walk allows you to get an up-close and personal look at how the InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI) Program achieves its mission of transforming the lives of prisoners, strengthening families, and building communities.  Contact Vicki Kunetka at 281-340-8756 to discuss how you can participate in an upcoming tour on one of the following dates;

 2015 ScheduleJanuary 8, February 12, March 12, April 9, May 14, June 11, July 9, August 13, September 10, October 8, November 12, and December 10

Tours are one (1) hour long beginning at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.  One week advance reservations is required for security clearance.

Submit an Article to be Featured in a Future Volunteer E-Newsletter

Are you "Paying it Forward"?  Volunteer Services wants to spotlight approved TDCJ volunteers who are ex-offenders.  More specifically, we want to hear what you are doing in your community with regards to "Paying It Forward".

We are looking for:

  • Ex-offenders who served time in TDCJ
  • Must be an approved volunteer with the TDCJ
  • Received no new charges since being released
  • Been out of prison for longer than three years (Parolees who are approved volunteers are eligible)

Submit an article using less than 100 words, feel free to use links to online references such as a website.  If applicable, feel free to mention a TDCJ staff member or volunteer who made a difference in your life's transition.  Provide a contact e-mail and submit a photo of yourself that is relevant to your service.

Email the information to Volunteer Services Subject:  Newsletter