My Father's House gala 2023
Preparing a place: “a meal for the guys at the house”
RESTORATIVE FREEDOM INITIATIVE PARTNER
RESTORATIVE FREEDOM INITIATIVE PARTNER
The 5th anniversary Gala of My Father’s House on March 15th was a great success!
It was encouraging to see more than 100 people sitting at the tables, interacting with MFH staff, volunteers, and residents, and listening attentively to the program on an evening blessed by the presence of the Archbishop of Denver, Samuel Aquila.
During the evening, Jim and the MFH family shared the origin of MFH, the present challenges and joys, and the projects and dreams for the future.
Ed Biegel, MFH Board Member, led us through the history of Jim and the foundation of My Father’s House. Over the years, a strong partnership with the CDOC and the WAGEES program was formed.
Dean Williams, former Executive Director of CDOC, sent a video message to make his presence felt. His were words of hope and support to Jim and the MFH community: “Sometimes I don’t know what the Lord’s work is, but I think you are doing it! Do we believe in redemption? I do, and I am sure that all of you do as well”. Dean also encouraged all of us to “Have a generous heart for the effort of Jim and MFH”.
Cory Miskell, Director for LCCL for Colorado, explained MFH’s partnership with the state-wide program WAGEES, highlighting that MFH is “the highest achieving program” they work with. “It is very hard to find a place to land. Jim is always there with open arms”.
The most beautiful moment of the evening was when Jim introduced four men who lived or currently live at MFH. In his words: “This is a celebration of the men who live at MFH, it’s about them”. Steve, among the first cohort of men to live at MFH, spoke of the joy of being reunited with his family, his achieved sobriety, and his certification as a mechanic. Jeff is excited to be an electrician: “I wanted to bring the light: God answer me. He gave me over a thousand lights I had to put up. So, we are definitely bringing the light”. And it all started with the help received from Jim: “I was able to make a meal for the guys at the house”.
Joe shared the surprise when his application to MFH was accepted after eight other houses had rejected him, and the healing that happened when he was reunited with his family: “With Jim’s encouragement, my brother and my father came down to the Cleo house where I was paroled to. It was a big relief to have family”. Finally, Bryan, who joined MFH in January: “It’s good to come to a safe place that is drug-free. That is what Jim has given me, and I am very happy about that”.
MFH has just acquired the third house and will be able to welcome four more men there soon. What is more, MFH has established a partnership with AVSI-USA to bring a successful methodology of rehabilitation to strengthen what MFH has to offer.
The origin of this methodology is in Brazil, in the Association for the Assistance and Protection of Convicts (APAC). Jackie Aldrette, Managing Director of AVSI-USA, presented the partnership with MFH: “We work together with the people that we serve, according to the principle of ‘Do nothing for me without me’”. AVSI-USA Restorative Freedom Initiative is facilitating the adaptation of the APAC methodology to MFH: “We are excited because we are convinced that each one of us has so much to gain from each other, from hearing each other’s story, and working towards a more human and loving society”.
Finally, Simonetta d’Italia-Wiener, film director and producer of Unguarded, a documentary that features the experience of APAC in Brazil, recalled the day on which she screened the film at MFH. Jim asked her, “How can we implement the methodology at MFH?”. She answered him: “You are already doing it”. That was the beginning of the partnership with AVSI-USA. “Listening to men and women whose lives have changed: this is what convinces us. Lives are transformed not by programs but through the constant and loving presence of volunteers, through unconditional and free love. This is what I witnessed tonight.”