For almost 25 years, Dismas House has been a beacon of hope for former prisoners in greater Worcester, providing an important platform for healthy reentry from prison to those most in need of recovery, decent work, and housing. Dismas’ trademark family-style atmosphere, created by dozens of churches, families, and students breaking bread with the residents creates the right environment for former prisoners to successfully become whole with our communities. A small, but caring and dedicated staff, complemented by work study students from the College of the Holy Cross, and other volunteers manage every aspect of each resident’s stay – demanding accountability while also providing support. An entrepreneurial spirit exists at Dismas, whether its residents assisting in the launch of the Westborough Farmers’ Market, or helping establish partnerships with such area restaurants as Armsby Abbey and Picassos in Barre. A blend of foundation supports, a small amount of government funding, and private donations from caring and committed community members fuel the Dismas programs, in addition to the revenue produced by the farm and its ventures.
And Dismas House works. The esteemed Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation, the successor to the Urban Commissions of President Lyndon Johnson, evaluated the nation’s prison reentry efforts in 2007, and found Dismas house to be among the top seven. The Urban Institute cited Dismas House in a pioneering study on reentry in 2002.
We rely on the community for support – for everything from grocery cards to stem the cost of our annual grocery bill, to towels, toiletries, and sheets. And we need help from the community to tend the farm, volunteer as a mentor, help in our fundraising and awareness efforts. We hope you might become the newest member of the Dismas Family!