Here at Riverside House, we often express how happy we are for the alumni of our program, but we should also mention that we are also very excited for the positive changes and growth of our current residents and clients. A couple of our clients sat down with our Chaplain and gave their stories of how Riverside House is currently impacting their lives. These clients are always inspiring to us, and we would like to share with you their stories of hope and personal growth.
Mr. Enrique Fernandez* will be released from Riverside House in April 2017, and he will transition into probation for the next three years. It is without a doubt that Mr. Fernandez is grateful for the things that Riverside House has done for him. During his exit interview, he stated that he truly appreciated being at Riverside House, as opposed to being released directly from prison onto the street. Mr. Fernandez told us that he is grateful for the professionalism and compassion that the staff has shown him since his arrival. As he prepared for his released, Mr. Fernandez expressed how very happy he is to have his kids back in his arms, and he thanked God for protecting them while he was incarcerated. He shared with us that he is often afraid to move into the next chapter in his life, but he has been speaking with his pastor regarding the forgiveness of self, and while he has been serving his time, he has also been working on forgiving himself for the selfish way that he acted, which caused his family to be without him for a while. Mr. Fernandez let us know that he would like the chaplains to stay in contact with him after his release as he gets his life back and starts over again.
Mr. Robert Wallace*, a current BOP client and Riverside House resident, has truly been blessed. Mr. Wallace arrived at Riverside House from federal prison on January 19th. As he was going through his orientations with security, case managers, and employment, he grew very overwhelmed and weary. He visited the chaplain’s office to complete his Pastoral Care Orientation and shared his frustrations. It turned out that some unfortunate things happened between he and his family while he was incarcerated. Mr. Wallace shared how his two sons are now living in a one bedroom rooming house, and his wife has been cheating on him ever since the beginning of his incarceration. Moreover, he found out that some friends of his passed away during the time that he has been incarcerated. These terrible events had made Mr. Wallace feel alone and afraid that life would never be good for him again. As one of the chaplains continued to encourage him, Mr. Wallace started looking for a job and attending church regularly to give glory to God. Within a short time, Mr. Wallace was hired to work at a seafood distribution company for $10/hr. As he continued to keep his faith strong, and never doubt his abilities or God, he began to smile more, and believe that everything was going to be alright. After a month of working, Mr. Wallace reconciled with his wife, and he recently put a down payment on a 3/1 apartment for him and his family. He has now completed his Life Skill classes, and expressed that he believes that he will be successful in his transition to the community. Though he has a few more months at Riverside House, Mr. Wallace has already told us that he would love to come back anytime to encourage his fellow returning citizens.
We are so very proud of the positive changes that Mr. Fernandez and Mr. Wallace have been experiencing while here at Riverside House. We will continue to foster positive spiritual, mental, and professional growth in the clients that we serve.
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals.