A Leap of Faith: Paul Gaeto's Story of Mentoring Inside Prisons with JUMPSTART
Updated: Jul 3
Paul discovered JUMPSTART through Grace Church in Downtown Greenville, where he was offered three ways to get involved: Inside Mentor, Outside Mentor, or Second Chance Employer.
Initially hesitant, Paul chose to become an Outside Mentor but later realized he was a perfect fit for the Inside Mentor role and volunteered inside prisons.
Paul's involvement with JUMPSTART gave him a deeper understanding of the challenges currently and formerly incarcerated individuals face and the impact of long-term inmates on others in the program.
Through facilitating JUMPSTART classes, Paul learned about the factors that lead to crime, such as abuse, violence, neglect, and poverty. Starting programming inside prisons contributes to the 96% successful reentry rate.
Paul encourages hesitant volunteers to take the initial step and try volunteering with an open mind.
Stepping out in faith, Paul's six-year journey with JUMPSTART reflects Matthew 25:31-46. Serving those on the margins, he seeks out people in need, offering support and love. A simple act of caring, like noticing an absent participant, can have a profound impact. Kindness paves the way for a better future.
Paul's prayer is for participants to stay consistent, develop discipline, and engage in discussions. Surrounding themselves with supportive, spiritually committed individuals breaks cycles of crime and addiction.
Each person in the program aspires to leave a legacy of freedom and transformation for their families, breaking the cycle for future generations.