Incarceration doesn't just affect those who are currently incarcerated; it has an enormous impact on friends, family and loved ones who remain at home. Families and loved ones are often forgotten by the justice system, ignored by support services, and left voiceless.
Each year, Epiphany hosts a program called Raising My Voice-Kin. This is a four-week program held for parents, spouses, siblings and other loved ones of people who are currently incarcerated. Participants learn how to tell their story in a safe, supportive space surrounded by people with a shared experience. The program’s purpose is to teach public speaking and leadership training, enabling participants to speak at schools, community and youth groups, and other venues where their stories will have an impact. In hosting the program at Epiphany, participants have the opportunity to experience God’s love as they are welcomed into our place of worship. As Paul wrote in Romans 12:10, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
How Volunteers Help
Each week, the program facilitator guides participants through a series of exercises. Through these exercises, trainees learn to craft a 10-minute talk describing their experience, the impact on their lives, and creating a message of hope tailored to the group they are speaking to.
Volunteers create a Circle of Support offering positive feedback, making suggestions, or posing questions as trainees work on their stories. No special training is required, other than to share God’s love with our guests. It is a deeply humbling and rewarding experience to minister to families who are, essentially left behind.
While volunteers are encouraged to participate in each session and attend graduation when trainees deliver their final talk, it is unnecessary if time doesn’t allow. Volunteers still make a huge difference.
Note: Due to COVID-19, the workshop is currently being held through Zoom sessions.
For more information or to learn when the next workshop meets, please call the parish office at 212-737-2720.
- Each Saturday, October 6-27 (4 sessions)
- 12 noon – 3:00pm
- Graduation on Saturday, November 3
- Sanctuary, Church of Epiphany