The Way Home: A path to freedom.

The Way Home, Inc.
P.O. Box 1103
Georgetown, DE 19947

Phone: 302-856-9870
Fax: 302-856-9871

Transitional Home for Former Prisoners is Blessed

by Jessica Clark, St. Paul's, Georgetown

Most of the men and women who come to us are homeless and penniless. Many have burned bridges with family, friends, and former employers, and are often seeking to re-locate to an area that does not have the same temptations and pitfalls that faced them before going to prison. Few of our participants have driver's licenses, and most do not have adequate identification when we pick them up at the prison gates. We work with people to help them overcome challenges like these, so that they have a fighting chance to build a new, crime-free life. We offer encouragement and emotional and spiritual support, as well as very practical help, letting our participants know that they are not alone in this struggle. We reinforce the central truths that core decisions and choices are theirs to make, and that all decisions and actions have consequences for which they, like all of us, must be accountable. But this time can be different for them. This time they have a support team with them every step of the way.

—Barbara Del Mastro The Way Home

These words from The Way Home's executive director not only explain the mission of the organization, but they also give some sense for the importance of the blessing of the home in Millsboro, which is now a haven for men who are transitioning from Delaware prisons to a better life. The Rev. Max Wolf of All Saints', who serves as the chairman of the board for the organization, blessed each room of the transitional house on June i6. "We are blessed by this program to witness daily miracles as participantsheal from past mistakes and turn their lives around with the support of our staff and volunteers," said Fr. Wolf. "It is also a blessing for the wider community to be reminded of the needs of ou r brothers and sisters as they rebuild their lives."

Financed by donations from the community and profits from sales of The Christian Storehouse in Millsboro, the small house that stands innocuously on a quiet Millsboro side street was used for I2 years to house area homeless families. "The (homeless) program, although much needed in Sussex County, was not entirely successful, as we did not have staffing for oversight and case management," explained Stew Smith, Director of The Christian Storehouse. "About three years ago, Barbara Del Mastro approached us and proposed that the home be used to assist ex-offenders of the Delaware prison system who are transitioning to a new and better life.. Our partnership with her organization provided the necessary case management and blossomed into a successful ministry."

Approximately 35 former prisoners have lived in the home while they learned new skills or worked at jobs to provide for their families and have a better future. The men are required to maintain the property inside and out. follow the established rules, complete TASTE the fruit of the vine probationary requirements, and meet their goals and responsibilities to accomplish their rehabilitation plans.

The Way Home's mission is to free individuals from the cycle of crime and despair by providing them with holistic support after prison that generates hope, self-sufficiency, and connection to the community. Since 1998, The Way Home has helped hundreds of ex-offenders stay out of prison, providing case management to participants for less than one-sixth the cost of incarceration. The Way Home program aims for no more than five percent recidivism among participants, aiming to eliminate a return to prison among participants altogether.

For more information or to volunteer at The Way Home, contact Barbara Del Mastro, Executive Director, at 856-9870 or by email at barbara@the Worship at Old Christ Church, Sundays through October 4, 9:30 a.m.

Copied from Delaware Communion, September 2009