The Essex Community Justice Center (ECJC) is looking for volunteers for the Circles of Support and Accountability Program (CoSA). Ideally, volunteers would be from Essex, Colchester, Milton, Jericho, Underhill or Westford, but it’s not required. If you have ties at all to any of those communities (family, work, church, etc.) then you might be just who we are looking for!
What is a Circle of Support and Accountability?
The Circle of Support and Accountability (COSA) is an evidence-based model of engaging with someone who is coming out of incarceration, who wants to change and be a law-abiding citizen and who is at risk to re-offend because of a lack of support from friends, family, and their community. A COSA is a team of 3-4 community volunteers and a Reentry Coordinator, who works at the Essex Community Justice Center. The team meets weekly with the person who was formerly incarcerated (called a “core member”). CoSAs help the “core members” develop pro-social associates and internal accountability, and are also there for support, coaching, mentoring and even some fun. Conversations in CoSA circles may include talking about daily struggles, anticipating challenges, and providing role modeling of behavior and positive activities. Volunteers, over time and after building trust, may choose to engage in one on one mentoring and/or social activities with a core member. Often people reentering their communities from prison are marginalized and have few, if any, natural social supports. CoSA’s can be the key to a successful reentry. At the core of the CoSA Program is the mantra, “No More Victims.” Staff at the Essex Community Justice Center provide training and support for CoSA Volunteers.
If you want to learn more contact Jill Evans at the Essex Community Justice Center at jevans@ or 662-0001. essex.org