Orange County Probation Department Volunteers In Probation Restorative Justice/Catholic Detention Ministry
ACTION: What do the volunteers do?
Since October 1993, Nancy and Garth Meade have served as Volunteers In Probation, dedicating their time, talents and energy to incarcerated youth through the Restorative Justice/Catholic Detention Ministry. The ministry responds to the Gospel mandate of visiting the imprisoned and focuses on the spiritual care and nurturing of those in detention facilities. Catholic Detention Ministry affirms each person, not necessarily his/her behavior, and invites individuals to grow as sons and daughters of God.
Through their volunteer endeavors over the past 20 years, Nancy and Garth have contributed 9,600 hours of service, reaching out to more than 25,000 incarcerated youth. As volunteers, they’ve served as liturgical leaders, religious facilitators and spiritual mentors for at-risk teens. They’ve led retreats and Bible study classes at Youth Guidance Center (YGC); provided musical accompaniment at religious services conducted on a weekly or monthly basis at YGC and Juvenile Hall; created song sheets for distribution to minors attending services; and coordinated logistics for liturgical programs. In addition, Garth works with minors who serve as lectors as they prepare for liturgical readings, and the couple often helps with special event set up and performances scheduled at YGC.
NEED: What community needs do the volunteers address?
Nancy and Garth work diligently with incarcerated youth, providing them with the support needed to overcome the obstacles of expressing their spirituality in an unfamiliar setting within a juvenile detention facility. They are calm and compassionate, always finding ways to help the minors feel valued and appreciated. They add to the solemn nature of religious services through their respectful demeanor, and they model appropriate behavior while interacting with the minors during Bible study classes and retreats.
IMPACT: What is different as a result of the volunteers' service?
Nancy and Garth have made a significant and positive impact in the lives of young probationers housed at YGC and Juvenile Hall. Through their long-term commitment to the juvenile community, they have garnered the respect of minors as well as staff. They have been instrumental in helping troubled youth redirect their lives so that upon release, they can achieve goals, experience success and become productive members of the community.
INSPIRATION: What makes the volunteers unique/special?
Nancy and Garth work diligently and unselfishly to ensure that troubled youth are offered a second chance in life. The joy, hope and enthusiasm that they bring to their volunteer endeavors inspire others to make life-changing decisions. The honesty, compassion and humility that Nancy and Garth demonstrate in working with youthful offenders are amazing qualities that they continuously apply while communicating the Good News of God’s unconditional love for those incarcerated.
Thank you and congratulations to Nancy & Garth Meade, recipients of the 2013 Excellence in Volunteerism Award!
Click here to find out how you can volunteer with the OC Probation Department.