Daniel Gross’ background in journalism has exposed him to an abundance of unique stories and situations. But not until he interacted with JUMPSTART for a story would he realize his heart for the formerly incarcerated.
Daniel attends Grace Church Greenville, SC, one of JUMPSTART’s active ministry partners. After interviewing the nonprofit’s leadership for a story in the newspaper, Daniel saw JUMPSTART as a natural fit for him to get involved.
As a volunteer, he was immersed in the Outside Program’s 33 Series. 33 The Series helps the men gain a Biblical perspective of manhood and discuss how their pasts have shaped them and helped them grow. Daniel notes the importance of learning from our past to influence how we live for Christ today.
He distinctly remembers a morning when the men in the “Big House” made some volunteers a delicious breakfast. The gesture was completely thought up and executed by those in the transitional program.
They wanted to say thank you to the volunteers who were investing their time and love into them.
This is one of his favorite memories, as he said: “There was no divide or division; we were all just there together, connecting as one. We were grateful to be enjoying one another’s company.”
He notices the barrier that stigmas have created between the incarcerated and our communities. He advocates that we must flip the script of stereotypes and believes that through God, this is possible. It is unwise to neglect a population of people based on stigmas created by society when every single individual can be redeemed when given a second chance.
While Daniel has poured into the men at JUMPSTART, he has been inspired by the passion and zeal for the Lord and God’s word that he sees in the participants. He is reminded that he, too, should have those same desires.
His volunteering has led him to experience why JUMPSTART and its participants are so successful. He acknowledges the structure of the program in allowing men and women to heal from their past, setting them up for a future of flourishing, one step at a time. In his words, “JUMPSTART reminds us that it will only happen in God’s timing. We can take joy and rest in His good will for us and that He will work it all out for us in the end, even if it is not what we initially thought it would look like.”