Society of Saint Dismas
Bridge Builder’s Training PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 30 March 2012 08:59


Lori Costantino-Brown Speaking of the Bridgebuilder's history

     On March 13 and 14th, the Chaplaincy Department conducted a two-day Bridgebuilder’s training at The Cathedral of St. Dismas. Bridgebuilder’s is a Christ-centered twelve step program for life controlling problems. All Chaplains from The Society of St. Dismas were in attendance at the event that focused on equipping them to facilitate Bridgebuilder’s groups at each Bridges of America facility. Also in attendance were Carol Zoffinger and Rebecca Campbell, from Zoe’s Journey, an organization that assists women transitioning from incarceration to self-sufficiency. Ms. Zoffinger is founder of that organization, while Ms. Campbell serves as a counselor at their Lakeland facility.

      Each day began with a devotion and prayer by Dr. Thomas Beckner, Director of Chaplaincy Services and Program Development. Lori Costantino-Brown, Bridges of America president, opened the two-day event by providing an introduction to the Bridgebuilder’s program. The remaining sessions were led by three experienced program facilitators. Regional Chaplain Scott Davidson presented the basic program philosophy, core purposes of the group, and discussed facilitation of a Bridgebuilder’s meeting. Fr. Charles Brown, Senior Vice-President of Bridges of America, imparted his wisdom of the twelve steps and faith recovery. The training concluded with Regional Chaplain Ginery Twichell sharing practical applications of group facilitation principles.

Chaplains of Bridges of America. Click to see in full size

Mentoring at the Broward Bridge PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 21 March 2012 10:37


Father Ginery Twichell and The Men at The Broward County Bridge

    The Broward County Bridge made it a high priority to enhance and increase mentoring opportunities.  Several months ago, they began meeting with community partners, representatives from their therapeutic community, and Staff.  The mission of this Mentoring Task Force was to increase successful transition to independence through mentoring by building supportive and accountable relationships with trained mentors from the community.
    On March 17, they held their first event in an effort to increase awareness of their new program—a 3-on-3 basketball tournament. In addition, the day consisted of presentations by both mentors and mentees explaining mentoring concepts and their value to participants.  There was also a fabulous barbecue lunch complete, with a special cake, and featuring a Gospel rapper who has volunteered to be a mentor. The mentors then rolled up their sleeves and served the coaches, referees, and time/scorekeepers.  They also spent time getting to know the men of the Broward Bridge.
     The day concluded with an awards ceremony that actually was more of a celebration of the entire event with the volunteer mentors, the TC men, and the staff all joining together.  It was a festive and informative time for everyone and a wonderful way to kick off the mentoring program.

Expanding a Statewide Network of Faith Based Volunteers and Service Providers. PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 March 2012 15:11

 Sam Pennington and Emmett Solomon

     Recently, Fr. Charles Brown and Dr. Thomas Beckner participated in a series of meetings in Tallahassee designed to expand a statewide network of faith-based volunteers and service providers. The featured guest presenter was Emmett Solomon, director of Restorative Justice Ministries Network (RJMN) in Texas and founder of a similar movement in that state.
    Prior to founding RJMN, Mr. Solomon served as a correctional chaplain with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for 30 years. During the last ten of those years, he was Director of Chaplains for that department.
    RJMN now includes 85,000 people who do or have done prison ministry.  Mr. Solomon lobbies for a more efficient criminal justice system, and much of the effort of the ministry is extended toward releasing prisoners who need the help of the Church as they attempt to structure back into society.  The network also maintains an active website regarding prison ministry (
The Tallahassee events were co-sponsored by Bridges of America, Smart Justice, and Tax Watch.

Paying It Forward PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 10 February 2012 09:36


Chaplain Willie Tillman at the Ronald Mcdonald House

    On February 3rd The Turning Point Bridge was blessed with an abundance of Children’s gifts. The gifts were donated by Robert Allen of Rebuilding Families an organization that focuses on rebuilding and empowering families one life at a time. Robert Allen is also a contributor and volunteer to the men at Turning Point Bridge. With all the Christmas presents already left over, Chaplain Willie Tillman decided to pay it forward and donate the reminder of the gifts. He called the local Ronald McDonald House in Ft. Lauderdale and discovered that the gifts would be an enormous support and blessing for families and children going through difficult times. 

    Willie Tillman Stated “It was a privilege to donate our presents as well as tour both facilities as I now understand how the Ronald McDonald House operates within its core values to provide a “safe place” for those going through difficult times.”

    A huge Thank You goes out to Robert Allen and Chaplain Willie Tillman for their great work in connecting, contributing, and paying it forward to the community. Also to The Ronald McDonald House for the great work in helping Families and Children in critical times. I’m sure we will all benefit from this special event.

Written By Dr. Thomas Beckner and Diana Gonzalez

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