Abbotsford-Mission MLA Pam Alexis and Premier John Horgan speak with staff and volunteers at M2/W2 Association on July 29. (Photo by Herman Thind)

Abbotsford-Mission MLA Pam Alexis and Premier John Horgan speak with staff and volunteers at M2/W2 Association on July 29. (Photo by Herman Thind)

Premier John Horgan pays visit to Abbotsford program

M2/W2 Association also welcomes Abbotsford-Mission MLA Pam Alexis

Premier John Horgan and Abbotsford-Mission MLA Pam Alexis stopped by the office of M2/W2 Association – Restorative Christian Ministries last Thursday (July 29) as part of a tour to meet people living and working in Abbotsford.

During the 45-minute meeting, Horgan spoke with M2/W2 staff, volunteers and program participants.

Founded in the late 1960s, M2/W2 is a not-for-profit organization that provides mentorship and support to people in prison, on parole, and in the community.

In May, the organization’s No One Leaves Alone (NOLA) community reintegration program was awarded a $75,000 grant through the B.B.c government’s Civil Forfeiture Crime Prevention and Remediation program.

RELATED: Abbotsford’s M2/W2 receives $75K grant for offender reintegration

Speaking with the Premier, one NOLA participant explained the value of the program: “Inside an institution you are a name and number. I read about No One Leaves Alone and I thought, ‘I’m a candidate for that because I’m alone.’ NOLA has always treated me like a human being. And that is the greatest thing.”

Another participant added, “When you go (to prison) you lose trust in everybody. NOLA has helped me trust people again.”

“Mentoring is what the human condition should be about,” Horgan said after listening to the stories. “It was people who intervened in my life that helped me to be who I am – not where I am. Who I am. The ‘who I am’ is the key part. It’s not what you accomplish. It’s who you are and what you do every day to help those around you.”

Alexis thanked the organization for its “important and invaluable work.”

“The longevity of M2/W2 speaks volumes about the association and the positive impact it has on the community. We are lucky to have M2/W2 in our midst,” she said.

Raymond Robyn, M2/W2 executive director, said that it was an honour to host Horgan and Alexis at the office.

“They took the time to stop by, hear our stories, and affirm our efforts to provide mentorship and support to people affected by incarceration,” he said.

“I’m glad to have shared the table with our staff, volunteers, and program participants. These are the dedicated and compassionate people who make our work a success. Our vision is to end imprisonment, one person at a time. The only way this will happen is if people come together, recognize the struggles we face, and set out to overcome them.”

RELATED: Offender reintegration program gets $1.23 million in federal funding