Celebrating the announcement of $1.23 million in funding for the No One Leaves Alone (NOLA) project are (from left) program director Krystal Poje, MP Jati Sidhu, M2/W2 executive director Raymond Robyn, and M2/W2 board chair Arnie Melissen. (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)

Celebrating the announcement of $1.23 million in funding for the No One Leaves Alone (NOLA) project are (from left) program director Krystal Poje, MP Jati Sidhu, M2/W2 executive director Raymond Robyn, and M2/W2 board chair Arnie Melissen. (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)

Offender reintegration program gets $1.23 million in federal funding

Abbotsford-based No One Leaves Alone project also serves Mission, Chilliwack and Langley

The federal government today announced $1.23 million in funding for an Abbotsford-based project that helps newly released offenders reintegrate into the Fraser Valley.

MP Jati Sidhu (Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon) said the No One Leaves Alone (NOLA) Reintegration Project, run by M2W2 Association Restorative Christian Ministries, is expected to help 35 to 40 men and women ages 18 to 55 to make the transition from prison to living in their communities.

The individuals will be assisted with things such as finding suitable housing and stable employment; getting help for addiction or mental illnesses; and accessing education and skills training.

The project, which began its work in 2018 and is supported by volunteers, will serve Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack and Langley.

Sidhu announced the funding – provided from the federal government’s Crime Prevention Action Fund through the Ministry of Public Safety – during a press conference at Garden Park Tower in Abbotsford.

RELATED: No One Leaves Alone program matches inmates with volunteers

“Evidence tells us that prevention and reintegration programming can lead to fewer repeat offenders, fewer victims and, ultimately, safer communities,” he said.

“If we can help former inmates become productive law-abiding citizens, we absolutely should.”

NOLA program director Krystal Poje said that many men and women leaving jail will eventually return.

“Generally, these individuals do not have a healthy support system (or) the needs and/or skills needed for successful reintegration; thus, the prison gates become revolving doors,” she said.

“Research has shown that with a circle of support, the transformation process for offenders, as they reintegrate into community, is successful.”

Poje said NOLA involves three to five trained volunteers and staff meeting with an offender on a regular basis for 18 months, developing goals and working on creating a “secure, pro-social network.”

She said the program is monitored by a doctor from University of the Fraser Valley.

Arnie Melissen, chair of the M2/W2 board, said the organization is the ideal partner for the project, as it has spent the last 53 years mentoring and supporting individuals as they reintegrate into communities.

“This funding will help us focus more clearly on that specific task, and apply more resources to it to increase the number of offenders whose lives we can touch,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sidhu said he is pushing for funding to be reinstated for another Abbotsford crime-prevention program.

The In It Together program – aimed at preventing youths from becoming involved in gangs and crime – lost federal funding at the end of September.

If they are approved for new funding, that won’t start until this April, but there has been no commitment on that yet.

“I’m very hopeful … It’s on the map. I don’t know when, but I’m pushing hard,” Sidhu said.

RELATED: Funding is running out for Abbotsford gang-prevention program

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

Sarah De Klein and her family have created a team – one of many – for the Move4Communitas fitness challenge and fundraiser. (Submitted photo)
Communitas in Abbotsford holds virtual fitness challenge

Move4Communitas started March 1 and runs for 8 weeks

The Kimber family of Boston Bar lost their home in a fire. Blaine Kimber’s daughter created a fundraiser to help rebuild the home with the goal of $100,000. (Screenshot/GoFundMe)
Fundraiser created for Boston Bar family that lost everything in weekend fire

Witnesses say the Kimber family escaped the fire without injury, but their home is a total loss

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of March 7

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

The family of injured Willoughby resident Ronald Gerald Jesso is hoping someone saw something that will help solve the mystery of how he came to be so badly hurt on the morning of Feb. 22. Jesso is still in hospital. (Jesso family/Special to Langley Advance Times)
An appeal to help solve the mystery of an injured Langley man

Family of Ronald Gerald Jesso asks witnesses to come forward

Most Read