Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota
Correctional Services VAST Meeting

VAST Community Reentry

The Volunteer Aftercare Support Team (VAST) is a Twin Cities-based group that offers one-on-one support for individuals who are transitioning back into society, and their loved ones. The group is operated by volunteer mentors who host weekly support group meetings for men and women, as well as a monthly combined worship service.

VAST’s main purpose is to help participants fill these critical needs: 1. Emotional and spiritual support. 2. Employment.

Who Can Participate

Anyone is welcome. Those who may benefit most from attendance are:

  • Men and women recently released from prison
  • Men and women who are in recovery
  • Family members of those recently released from prison
  • Loved ones of those incarcerated
  • Men released or currently attending local Salvation Army residential programs

Meeting Location

VAST meets at the North Minneapolis Salvation Army Worship and Service Center, 2024 Lyndale Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN 55411.
 

Thursday Night Schedule

We meet every Thursday night. Our gathering begins with a meal and networking.

On the first Thursday of the month, the meal is at 6 p.m. Then, there is a combined worship service at 6:45 p.m., before the men’s and women’s support groups break off to meet separately from 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.

All other weeks, the meal is at 6:15 p.m. Support groups meet immediately following the meal from 7 – 8 p.m.

Combined Worship Service

The combined worship service brings together all VAST participants for music, devotions and testimonials of faith and recovery. This occurs on the first Thursday of each month. On these nights, dinner is at 6 p.m., the combined worship service is at 6:45 p.m., and the evening ends half an hour later at 8:30 p.m.

Men’s Support Group

The men’s support group is a place where men can grow spiritually, learn from others coming out of prison, take advice from staff and volunteers, and be accepted for who they are. The first half of each meeting includes discussions about the men’s everyday struggles. The second half is a video training called Authentic Manhood™ that takes a Christ-centered, introspective look at what drives risky behavior.

Women’s Support Group

The women’s support group serves women coming out of prison, as well as women on the outside who have an incarcerated son or daughter, spouse or other loved one. The women can share their emotional hardships and find the support they need to keep moving forward.

Employment Support

The employment component of VAST is equally as important as the spiritual. Individuals exiting prison often view finding a job as an insurmountable hurdle because: 1. Few employers readily hire felons. 2. They have been locked up for so long that they’ve forgotten how to find and keep a job.

VAST helps men and women secure employment by providing one-on-one counseling from volunteer professionals who provide expert advice in the areas of résumé writing, job searching, interview coaching, mental preparation, using today’s technology, and more.

News & Testimonials

Volunteer

The VAST program relies heavily on volunteers to meet the needs of attendees both on Thursday nights and throughout the week.

Our current volunteer needs:

  • Female Mentors – Are you interested in supporting those recently released from prison? Our mentors help guide men and women who reside in Salvation Army program facilities or who participate in other Salvation Army reentry programs. The foundation for the guidance provided by the mentor will be based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. Female mentors must be available a minimum of four hours a month (either by phone or in person) for one year.
  • Male Job Coach – We are looking for males who would be interested in serving as job coaches for men transitioning back into the community after being incarcerated. Our job coaches work one-to-one with men seeking employment and provide the appropriate support, guidance and encouragement for individuals creating an action plan to help secure employment. Male job coaches must be available a minimum of four hours a month (either by phone or in person) for one year.

To sign up as a volunteer, call Haley at 651-746-3498.

For more information, please contact correctional services or call 651-746-3534.