Charles Taylor and Tomas Halik – two philosophers who write on themes related to belief and spirituality in a secular age – both describe faith as a journey or a pilgrimage through life were we share in a seeking of truth and justice together. Both recognize accompaniment as a virtue for our time. With this in mind, we have been fortunate these past few months to have our intern Tyler walk alongside us at Joseph House. Tyler has captured the spirit of accompaniment which is integral to our work with our returning citizens. As he nears the end of his internship with us, as well as his Masters in Social Work at FSU, we asked Tyler to reflect on his brief but substantial involvement at Joseph House.
In his words
I reflect upon my Summer at Joseph House as the semester ends and my internship nears completion. The time has passed by so fast and it’s hard to believe that the Summer semester is already ending. I can’t say enough about my experience here. Not only did I achieve professional development as the internship intends, but I have also achieved personal development. Since being at Joseph House, I have become quicker to smile, quicker to laugh, quicker to be goofy, quicker to say a kind word, quicker to help, quicker to care, quicker to have faith, and quicker to let go. I attribute the growth of these tendencies to the loving, caring and willing community that is forming around this wonderful program. If the atmosphere at Joseph House with all of the love, kindness and generosity is uplifting to me, imagine what it can do for the men being released and joining this community.
People often adapt to their environment, hence, the difficulty of men adapting to the harsh prison environment and then having to adapt back into a very different world in society. What better place for them to adapt to than a community of kind, caring, skilled people who can welcome them, accept them, guide them, encourage them, and help them cushion the blows they receive from the trials of adjusting back into life. To these men being released, the mere presence of a person who accompanies them with a caring attitude and a willingness to help, or even just to listen to them and understand who they are as a person, has the potential to uplift that person into another form of being that they may have never been exposed to. The modeling of prosocial behavior while developing healthy relationships and prosocial engagement with the community may not only be a new experience to these men, but also something that they desperately need. Joseph House embodies this ideal of community, accompaniment, and caring relationships that can truly create lasting imprints on the lives of those returning back into the community.
My experience at Joseph House cannot be properly expressed without gratitude for the people involved here. Father Dustin Feddon is a visionary who is manifesting transcendent ideals into practical reality through community, social justice, and the incorporation of evidence-based practice. Maria Morrison is an exceptionally knowledgeable, thorough, and dedicated professional who has greatly contributed to the formation of Joseph House, and who has guided me and taught me so much. Working for and with these two has been such a pleasure and such an enriching experience for my personal and professional growth. The volunteers of Joseph House who continue to spend their time and efforts here are some of the kindest and most generous people that I have ever met. The mission at Joseph House cannot be maximized without the benevolent efforts of those who volunteer their time here. And Mr. Joe, it has been such a pleasure to accompany him in his transition into the Tallahassee and Joseph House community. Sharing in the full spectrum of joy, love, difficulty, challenges, and gratitude that Joe has expressed and experienced here has been a privilege for me to be a part of. Many memories with Joe such as feeding the squirrels or laughing over a meal are some that I will always remember. I am also grateful for the opportunity to reside at Joseph House this Summer. It is such a beautiful and comfortable home in a great location of town that I foresee as being a wonderful site for human growth and healing.
The future looks bright for the Joseph House community. It is exciting to imagine this community as a thriving locale for men to heal, learn, grow and love as the program expands and reaches its maximum potential. It would be an honor to be involved with this program in the future, to be a contributing member of this community, and to witness the miracles that will occur in the lives of the men whom we are serving.
“We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works. We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, and this all the more as you see the day drawing near.”– Hebrews 10: 24-25