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About Volunteering with BTL


Become a Bridges To Life Volunteer! No experience needed…..just a caring heart and the willingness to be present and listen. The Bridges To Life program utilizes an intensive 14-week process during which victim volunteers and offenders are brought together with a facilitator. Everyone has an open invitation to participate in the BTL program. Volunteers commit to the entire 14-week program.

 

Bridges To Life could not provide services without the generous donation of volunteer time. Community support includes thousands of hours donated by volunteer facilitators and victim volunteers and the use of facilities to conduct the projects in correctional units throughout Texas. Our volunteers contributed 67,080 hours in 2017, which had an “in-kind” value of over $1,687,000! 

 

There are two types of BTL volunteers:

  • Victims of crime and others who have been affected by crime (i.e. family members). A primary goal of the BTL program is to provide healing to victims of crime and share the impact of crime with offenders by telling their stories. Victim volunteers may also participate as group facilitators for the entire 14-week project, or may attend once specifically to tell their story as a victim speaker..
  • Facilitators are those who guide offenders through our 14-week curriculum in the small group setting, typically that of 2 facilitators per 10 offenders. It is not required that a Facilitator have been a victim of crime to participate in this role.

 

Training. All volunteers are provided with training on the BTL curriculum as well as mandatory security training by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). The three-hour BTL orientation session (a) provides an overview of the program, (b) discusses group dynamics, (c) explores self-awareness, victimology/sensitivity, and the offender perspective, and (d) provides helpful hints and an opportunity for questions. The three-hour TDCJ Security Training is necessary to become an approved volunteer within the Texas prison system and provides important information on safety and the dynamics of the prison facility.