Helping Today's Youth by Transforming Their Lives From the Inside Out
What is Cared Straight?
Cared Straight is a ministry founded by inmate men at Mt. Olive Correctional Complex. Their mission is to reach out to teenagers through-out West Virginia and help prevent them from making the same mistakes they made. The inmate men meet with the teens, many who are struggling with life issues themselves. The men provide words of encouragement and support with the hope they can influence the teens to avoid making similar mistakes. The inmates share their stories which led them into prison. As the men talk, you can see a connection as many of the men and teens have walked through the same life experiences and struggles. The men share their stories from struggle to salvation through Jesus Christ. They share the many trials they lived through, from dysfunction within their family, to crime, and ultimately prison. They go on to tell how Christ made the difference. They share the hope they found in Christ and how He changed them from the inside-out. They speak of a new hope and purpose they possess, even though they are in prison.
This transparency begins to build a relationship of trust that opens a door of sharing between the teens and the inmates. A dialogue begins where the inmate men provide advice to help the teens navigate the challenges they face in everyday life.
When the teens arrive, the men will be waiting on them in the Chapel. First, they will go with the teens on a brief tour beginning with the Quilliams Unit (Solitary Confinement) where men are confined to their cells 23 hours a day. From there, they will walk up to Elm Hall to show them what their cells look like. They will then go to a designated area where one of the men will go over what they hope to accomplish and what is expected from them which is their undivided attention. Everyone in the room will introduce themselves and one by one the inmate men will share their story of how ‘decisions’ ultimately led them to Mount Olive Prison, coupled by the things they have done to change their lives. There is time for open sharing, questions, etc. Their time together ends with prayer and encouragement.