Nonprofit opens doors to men seeking help following incarceration

ELKHART, Ind. -- “Elkhart Indiana incarcerates a lot of men and women per capita probably a lot more than other cities, and there is a lot of jobs here, so upon release a lot of men do not have the structure or encouragement or support to be successful,” says Derrick Mathews, Director of Project Scope.  

Project Scope was established in 1996 as an after-school mentorship program for kids. Now, the Elkhart nonprofit is taking on a new mission. The organization, opening up a transitional house for men. The home, just one of two, transitional houses available in Elkhart county. Residents are welcomed to stay in the house for 9 to 18 months where they are welcomed to shelter, food and security.

The organization also offering them personal finance courses, social skills, and adult literacy to provide the foundation for men to transition back into the community.

“These are your neighbors, these are the same individuals who have done their time, have paid their debt to society, and they are returning back to society and they are going to be big impacts ya know these are the brothers, uncles, fathers who are coming back to the community that can share their story of their success in their lives to be able to help out the next generation and generations to come,” says Matthews.

The home already welcoming in several residents.

“They said project scope but I said project scooped. They scooped me off the street so I have a place in this world so now I know what to do,” says Leon Williams, current resident.  

Williams also saying the home gave him a new “glow.”

“Now they tell me I glow, they said Mr. Williams you have a glow going for you. I tell them I’m sort of a billboard I tell them about this place, and I do not know where I would be if it was not for this place,” says Williams. “Hardest thing in the world is a person to change, people think they will lose friends, I do not need friends right now, I need myself to make it.”

“If it wasn’t for project scope, I do not know where I would be right now, I really don’t,” says former resident, Phillip Stoll. “Because everyone else had given up on me.”

Stoll explains this home is a place for change and new beginnings.

“If a person wants to change their life, they have to want to change it, and a place like this is for people like me who want to change,” says Stoll.  

If you are looking to support Project Scope or apply for the program, visit here.

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