Friends of Gemeinschaft:
We hope that you can join us for our annual "friend-raising" dinner from 6:00pm to 8:00pm on Saturday April 12 at Park View Mennonite Church (1600 College Ave., Harrisonburg).
We have a special guest as our keynote speaker, Mr. Mercedies Harris. He is a 2004 graduate of the Gemeinschaft Home, and is currently living in Staunton & employed as a pastor working with ex-offenders.
If you plan to attend, please RSVP by April 4th. Phone (540)434-1690, email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a message to the Gemeinschaft Home Facebook page.
Thanks for caring--and we look forward to greater things from this program and community.
Gemeinschaft Board and Staff
Gemeinschaft Home provides community-oriented programs and supervision for individuals in transition from prison to free society. Our goal is to return responsible, law-abiding residents to their communities. Our treatment philosophy, based on the Therapeutic Community model (TC), includes substance abuse recovery and relapse prevention, family systems and relational counseling, time and financial management, and anger control. TC is rooted in mutual self-help, work as education and therapy, and peers as role models.
Staff at Gemeinschaft Home work with residents to provide a structured daily living environment, and offer tools to ease their re-entry into public life. Residents are encouraged to be accountable to each other, and to confront displays of negative behavior by other residents out of a desire to encourage responsibility. All residents agree to abide by a behavior contract and must remain drug and alcohol-free while in the program.
Current staff include a program director, program coordinator, resident accounts manager, facilities manager, food service manager, and shift supervisors, all of whom are supervised by our executive director. We also work with a variety of volunteers from the community who serve as interns, mentors, and drivers, and offer workshops ranging from financial management to creative writing.
Recidivism rates—the likelihood that an ex-offender will commit another crime—are significantly lower among graduates of programs like Gemeinschaft Home than among ex-offenders who are released from prison with only $25 and the clothes on their backs. From a financial perspective, the annual cost per individual at Gemeinschaft Home is approximately $20,000, versus a minimum of $35,000 per inmate at a state prison (not including the cost of prison construction and maintenance).
Gemeinschaft Home works collaboratively with the Virginia Department of Corrections and its probation and parole division. Our program mainly serves offenders referred through the Department of Corrections' Community Residential Program (CRP). Some residents chose to enter as self-pay participants, meaning that they may or may not be under active supervision by a probation or parole officer, but desire the structure of a treatment program. In this case, they either must be employed or pay at least one month in advance.
Gemeinschaft Home only accepts nonviolent offenders who have no sexual offenses in their criminal record. Most of our residents have a history of substance abuse, and our program focuses heavily on relapse prevention, developing life skills, and participation in group and individual therapy. All residents must be mentally and physically healthy enough to maintain full-time employment.
Preference is given to referrals from probation and parole districts 39, 9, 26, 11, and 12, as residents from those districts are considered local and are permitted to remain and resettle in the community after they finish Gemeinschaft Home's program. This catchment area encompasses the bulk of northwestern Virginia and runs from Charlottesville to Lexington to Winchester to Leesburg.
In order to be accepted as a CRP participant (meaning the Virginia D.O.C. covers costs), an offender must have a probation obligation in Virginia. We rarely accept anyone who does not meet that criteria.
For more information on eligibility, or if you are a probation officer or counselor wishing to make a referral, see our Referrals page.
Each resident is responsible for paying for his own clothing, hygiene, transportation and medical expenses—though some residents are eligible for assistance from local health care agencies. Room and board, food and program treatment costs are all covered by Gemeinschaft Home.
Aside from basic clothing, we have found that the following things are most useful to new residents: phone cards or cell phones, quarters for laundry, work boots, a pillow if the resident prefers his own, stamps and envelopes, and hygiene items. Residents should also bring Social Security card and birth certificates if they have them—these are necessary for getting a state-issued I.D. but having them also makes applying for jobs easier. (We assist residents in procuring these documents if they do not already have them.)
Because this is a treatment facility, we do not allow anything containing alcohol on the grounds. Alcohol can be found in mouthwash, rubbing alcohol, cough and cold medications and even toothpaste. Please make sure that the items you send do not contain any alcohol.
There are many ways you can support the work of Gemeinschaft Home. To inquire about the options below or to suggest alternative ways you are willing to help, please send an email to email@example.com or call us at (540) 434-1690.
As a non-profit program, our success depends on the volunteer services, donation, and financial supports from the community. Please take a moment to follow the link to our Wish List of on-going and one-time needs and respond in one of the many ways you can help.
Do you have a clean driving record or a few hours a week in which you could answer phones and do basic administrative tasks? Interested in sharing some of your wisdom and life experience as a mentor to one of our residents? There are many ways to give your time and talents as a Gemeinschaft Home volunteer. Volunteers are essential to the success of our organization.
We can always use basic hygiene supplies such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, razors, deodorant, alcohol-free mouthwash, etc. We are also sometimes in need of gently used items such as tools, towels, and dishes (especially cups, mugs and silverware). Call us if you are interested in donating any of these items.
Many of our residents come to us straight from prison, and arrive only with a small check and the clothes on their back. We welcome donations such as jeans, t-shirts, underwear, undershirts and socks to stock our clothing closet and guarantee that residents have enough to wear until they are able to find work and pay for their own needs.
Our residents are glad to volunteer their time with local organizations that need assistance with moving, spring cleaning or other projects.
Please consider supporting Gemeinschaft Home through our Friends of Gemeinschaft annual giving campaign, or by a one-time donation. Every amount, not matter how small, helps keep our doors open and sustains our mission of successfully returning ex-offenders to their communities.
Recent cutbacks in state funding threatened to close our doors, but Gemeinschaft Home has emerged a stronger program than ever, with increased referrals and exceptionally positive reviews from the Western Region of the Virginia Department of Corrections and members of the local probation and parole office.
Help us continue this positive momentum by giving to our $24,000 annual contributions campaign. Join the members of our board in making a generous investment as a personal Friend of Gemeinschaft at one of the following annual giving levels.
If you gave to our 2010 Sixty-in-Six campaign you are already a charter member at one of the above levels. However, that does not have to preclude you from additional giving! We encourage you to give as you can and to renew your membership at a similar or higher level at the end of each year. No matter which level you choose, and whether you pay annually, quarterly or monthly, you will be making a vital difference for our residents.
The names of all donors are published annually (unless you choose to remain anonymous), and are posted on the main bulletin board at Gemeinschaft Home. Donors also receive periodic e-mail and Facebook updates on program developments.
The most common questions we receive related to referrals are listed below. Please contact us if you have additional questions.
Click here to download a referral application form. Please note that a complete referral file includes more than just the referral application form. Read through the information below for referral file requirements.
We screen for violent offenses, any sex offenses (regardless of whether or not it was a crime by force or the type of conviction received), and gang affiliation. And because our residents are required to pursue employment, we also check for any health issues which might prevent someone from working, and want to be sure that the person is following any prescribed treatment and/or medications.
We also check to make sure that the offender has a probation obligation upon release. We rarely accept any residents who are not on probation or parole.
We need a referrral application, the offender's complete criminal history, and all medical and mental health records. Once we have all of this, we can determine whether the offender is eligible for our program.
Due to the specific paperwork we need, only probation officers or counselors within prisons or reentry specialists within the Virginia Dept. of Corrections can refer a resident.
If you are a family member or friend wanting to assist a loved one, please contact the counselor within his prison or jail, or get in touch with his probation district. We are happy to answer questions you have but cannot guarantee acceptance until we have reviewed all referral paperwork from within the system.
If you are a lawyer interested in getting the court to order your client into our program, please call us.
Possibly. If you wish to enter the program and have the structure of a substance abuse treatment program but are not on supervised probation, you either need to be already locally employed and/or be able to pay for one month of treatment up front. Please call us to check on rates and eligibility.
Unfortunately, no. We used to have a program for women but when the state budget was slashed in 2008, the program was eliminated. At this point, there are no plans to restart it.
1423 Mt Clinton Pike
Harrisonburg, VA 22802
Phone: (540) 434-1690
Fax: (540) 432-9479
Gemeinschaft Home is staffed 24 hours a day, though most staff are present 8am to 5pm.
Saturday 12—4pm, 7—9pm
Sunday 12—4pm, 7—9pm
Visitors must be on a resident's approved visitor list and should bring a state-issued ID, such as a driver's license, when they come.
Gemeinschaft Home is in the Park View neighborhood of Harrisonburg, VA. We are one quarter mile west of Eastern Mennonite University on Mount Clinton Pike. Click here for detailed directions.