Through a partnership with Give Solar (http://give.solar) and a grant from the Merck Foundation, Gemeinschaft Home is getting ready to install a solar panel system on the premises this spring. Gemeinschaft Home is one of two community organizations to be selected for this project, which will save us thousands of dollars each year in energy cost savings. Jeffrey Heie is leading the initiative to coordinate grant support with crowd-funding revenue and major donations to support the project. He is also in the process of organizing labor, with the help of local contractors and volunteers, to begin construction in May. Make a donation today!
A program that began in Fall 2017, with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, JMU Music and Social Work faculty and students continue working together on a songwriting and storytelling project that help educate the broader community about the issues facing incarcerated individuals and their transition back into society. Robby McCoubrey is in charge of the program this year, meeting with residents on a weekly basis, in conjunction with students who assist in the project. The group occasionally performs in the community, providing a productive way for local citizens to learn about our residents.
In the Fall of 2018, Gemeinschaft Home intern Kat Webel (JMU Sociology and Writing/Rhetoric major) started conducting interviews with residents who wanted to share their experiences prior to coming to Gemeinschaft Home—and while in the program. The purpose of the project is to collect stories from current and former residents and make them available for viewing in a series of videos available on our website and social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook. Webel is joined this spring by another intern, Felisha Lawrence (JMU Justice Studies major), who is researching the experiences of (formerly)incarcerated individuals within the criminal justice system. The videos will be available online soon!
Gemeinschaft Home residents have been the recipients of generous donations by two organizations in recent months. The Rotary Club of Rockingham County has made significant contributions of men’s clothing and the youth group at Emmanuel Church of the Brethren in Mt. Solon assembled and delivered nearly 30 hygiene kits (a bag of toiletries and personal items that each resident receives upon arrival) in March! Your kindness helps make Gemeinschaft a better community, and we thank you!