Cornerstone is Making a Difference in Central Texas
Cornerstone Assistance Network–Up Close & Personal
John (not his real name) is a native of Waco, Texas. During childhood, he witnessed his father physically and emtionally adusing John’s mother. For this reason, John’s sister left to live with her boyfriend. After many domestic violence reports, his father went to jail. Due to negligence, his mother lost custody of John when he was 12-years-old and an older aunt took care of him. John recalls how that his mother punished and hated him because of his physical resemblance to his father and how that she called him a “stupid boy” and said that he would have nothing more than a mediocre life at best.
John was later diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. Growing up in a dysfunctional family and lacking parental and community support influenced him negatively and led to wrong choices and, ultimately, prison time. After release from prison, with a broken heart and lacking direction, John took the initiative to turn to God and experience Christ’s compassion through a local church. Referred to us in October, 2012, by a church leader from one of Cornerstone’sNetwork Partner Churches, John came to our office where we started working together in order to faciliate his reintegration into society. He has started to see life from a different perspective. In December of 2012, John started a part-time factory job, and he is now a full-time employee and excited about his work. Athough doing well in many areas, John continues to experience ups and downs. However, he is working through fears that continue to cause occasional social anxiety attack and is working toward achieving specific goals. He is trying to get his driver’s license, save up enough money to buy a car, and enroll in school where he may complete a degree.
Cornerstone Assistance Network Central Texas (CANCT) is helping change lives. I am thankful to be a part of God’s work of restoration through this ministry. I believe that John is not only changing his own life but will also help to change his neighborhoor and community through his testimony of transformation. More importantly, God is teaching us that He is able to restore broken lives, ones that society says are beyond hope. I know that there are many others like John in central Texas who are waiting for someone to give them a helping hand. Cornerstone is certainly giving a hand UP, rather than simply a hand-out! (Written by one of Cornerstone Assistance Network Central Texas’ case managers)
Cornerstone & the McLennan County Reintegration Roundtable
Cornerstone Assistance Network Central Texas is the primary voice of the faith-based community on the steering committee of the newly organized McLennan County Reintegration Roundtable. The Roundtable group has a steering committee made up of people with influential positions in the community and Cornerstone Central Texas is pleased to bring the faith-based perspective to every discussion. Recently, a key spokesperson from the Travis County Reintegration Roundtable shared with the steering committee that the faith-based community is the key to addressing reentry issues in the larger community.
The Roundtable has brought together the people with the power to make changes through the steering committee, and is asking the public what those changes should be. The roundtable held its second community forum on February 25, 2013, at the Waco Multi-purpose Center on the Paul Quinn Campus, 1020 Elm St. This second community meeting sponsored by the roundtable was well attended and generated many ideas as to how to address the complex mosaic of needs faced by ex-offenders as they re-enter society. The ideas discussed at the community meeting included providing counseling prior to convicts’ release, increasing the public’s knowledge of the issue, increasing the employment of ex-offenders, linking ex-offenders to resources and reducing recidivism. Recidivism includes all convicts who are rearrested, reconvicted or return to prison within three years following their original release, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
The McLennan County Reintegration Roundtable held its first community meeting in January, with the first meeting explaining what the reintegration of ex-offenders involves and introducing the Reintegration Roundtable. Members of the steering committee include Chief of Police Brent Stroman, Mayor Malcolm Duncan Jr., Dr. Dane Fowlkes (member of the Cornerstone Board of Directors) representatives involved with probation and parole, local employers and two ex-offenders. The steering committee was officially formed in January 2012, although the group had been meeting for more than a year to discuss the needs of reintegration. The committee agreed that the public should have the opportunity to participate in the discussion of the issues facing ex-convicts upon their return to society.
Reintegration Roundtable Priorities:
1. Reduce recidivism
2. Provide pre-release counseling
3. Increase public knowledge
4. Increase employment of ex-offenders
5. Link ex-offenders to resources/services
For more information on the work of Cornerstone Assistance Network Central Texas or the McLennan County Reintegration Roundtable, please contact us at:
(254) 741-1332 or
Cornerstone Assistance Network Central Texas is a non-profit intermediary committed to building collaboration among faith based communities and non-profit agencies for the purpose of advancing programs and services promoting restoration of ex-offenders, their families, victims and communities. Established to address one of the most significant social and spiritual crises in McLennan County and surrounding areas, Cornerstone Assistance Network Central Texas is the church and non-profit’s greatest ally in the recovery and reintegration of ex-offenders and their families in Central Texas.