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St. Vincent's re-entry program works to help people integrate in society after prison

St. Vincent's re-entry program received $500 from Mountain America Credit Union. (KBOI Photo)

When you walk out of prison, the pressing question is always: What now?

This Pay It Forward goes to the St. Vincent's re-entry program.

Some leave with little more than the clothes on their backs. For Keri Mendive, the volunteers at St. Vincent's gave her friendship, support and a job.

They have all kinds of items to start.

"We have sweaters, belts, purses, lots of shoes," Mendive said. "My job is customer service."

She knows where to find the right clothes or knick-knacks, and it's her first job since leaving court-ordered rehab.

"I've been her mentor now for a few months. I needed her to help me to do the right thing when I got out."

Debra Servatius is with the St. Vincent's re-entry program, which has been a bridge between prison and community.

"I just really saw something in her that I knew that if she had just a little bit of - maybe someone to walk with her - that she would do really well," Servatius said.

The volunteers are not only Catholics, but also Protestants, Mormons and Evangelicals.

"We spend a lot of time praying together," she said. "If you can imagine all these different religions sitting at a table together praying together. And we grow spiritually through helping people."

"It's a blessing to work here every day," Mendive said.

The job gives Mendive a renewed sense of accomplishment and belonging. But help from the program also comes in other forms.

"We can help them with transportation. We have bus passes and bikes. We can help them with a little bit of rent money."

All donations go to the people that they serve.

Angie Nelson with Mountain America Credit Union has decided to Pay It Forward with a $500 donation.

"This will buy 500 bus trips for people to get to work and the meetings they need to go to," Mendive said. "It could pay five weeks of rent for someone... And so, it really goes a long way."

Do you know someone making a difference in the Treasure Valley? Nominate them for a Pay It Forward!