AppleJack and I are volunteers with the Davidson County Sheriff's office. Today I am going to answer questions we are routinely asked about our volunteer work.
Question #1 What is the CDC?
CDC stands for Correctional Development Center. This is one of the six county jails in metro Davidson County. The CDC houses both men and women. Most of the men and women who are incarcerated at the CDC are there because of substance abuse (drugs or alcohol). Sheriff Hall believes everyone has value. One of the goals of the CDC is to teach inmates a skill or trade. The purpose of teaching the inmates a skill or trade is to help them find employment when they are released.
Question #2 Aren't you afraid?
No, I have never felt afraid. Most of the men and women incarcerated are more likely to harm themselves before harming us. We have never been in a situation where I was afraid or felt there was danger.
Question #3 What do you do?
Remember the movie Driving Miss Daisy? Morgan Freeman played the role of Hoke, the chauffeur. AppleJack and I are the Hoke's. We drive them. We pick them up from jail and drive them to a half way house. There have been times we have picked them up at a half way house and driven them to jail to serve their sentence. We drive them to the doctor, for court appearances, to funerals, to the grocery store, church, and to recovery meetings.
We buy them groceries. Basic groceries: milk, bread and toilet paper.
We buy Christmas gifts for their children and school supplies.
When they are serving their community time, we work along side them.
The most important thing we do: We love them, unconditionally, with forgiveness and without judgment
Question #4 Do you give them money?
No. If they need clothes we will get them clothes. If they need medical assistance, we will get them medical assistance. If they need food, we will buy groceries for them. We have bought bus tickets so they have public transportation to get to work. Yes, we have bought them cigarettes. We have learned the five minutes they spend smoking a cigarette is sometimes the five minutes they need to think about their situation and to prevent relapse.
Question #5 Do they take advantage of you?
No. It breaks our hearts when they relapse. Not for us, but for them. We are learning the difference between enabling and help.
I encourage everyone to do some kind of volunteer work. There are thousands of ways to volunteer. Choose something you love, something you are passionate about. Volunteer for yourself--it will be the best gift you have ever given yourself.