Our Story (cont'd)

Although Ron had never visited a prison and knew nothing about prison culture, his experience as a teacher helped him gain placement on Tim’s phone and visitation list, enabling him to travel to Florida dozens of times to encourage, mentor, and share stories with the teen.

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Soon, Ron was meeting other inmates where he could see the difference that a little care and interest was making .  To set aside conventional labels and see the inmates how God sees them seemed to help them gain a sense of peace, purpose, and empathy toward others -- something Ron thought would also help them stay safe and free upon release to their families and communities.

 

His suspicion of reduced recidivism was confirmed through several meetings with DOC officials in Florida, and in 2009, Ron began a larger outreach with fellow friends, speakers and musicians such as gospel artist, John Starnes.   Timothy's Gift was finally granted non-profit status in 2012.

 

That year, Timothy's Gift created “one of the most innovative and effective programs for prisoner care available anywhere,” according to one DOC official.  And now, some 30,000 inmates, 150 prisons, and four states later, the love continues...

Professional musicians, abundant in Nashville, were gathered together, bound by a common vision of love and restoration.  Programs consist of old classics, Motown hits, pop music, and many gospel favorites.  But the heartbeat of Timothy’s Gift was – and shall always remain -- the personal and spiritual connections made with each inmate.

 

If you’ve been on a tour with Timothy’s Gift, you already know the impact on the room when you call an inmate by name, sing them Happy Birthday, invite them on stage to sing and share their gifts, and give the blessing of music, friendship and communion.  This, in short, has transformed prison cultures, lowered recidivism, and helped thousands of inmates fulfill their hope for a safe, empathetic and productive life, within the walls -- and beyond them.

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Ron with Tim, just before Tim's release in 2017.