Food, Drinks and Dancing for a Good Cause

By on 27 February, 2017 in Fun, Karren Pell with 0 Comments

Men on the porch (2)One of the many things I love about living in one of Montgomery’s historic neighborhoods is that we find ways to help others. Sandra Nickel in Cloverdale collects coats and blankets to help the homeless in Montgomery during the winter. A portion of the Christmas fundraising in Capitol Heights is donated to the Brantwood Children’s Home. In Cottage Hill, the Renascence residential program operates a half-way house to help men released on parole for non-violent offenses to successfully integrate into the community. Pronounced “reh-NAY-sons,” the successful program is observing is ten year anniversary with a celebration and benefit on March 3, from 6-9 p.m. at One Court Square, Suite 300.

Since 2006, Renascence has provided transitional housing (six months to a year) for men on probation or parole for non-violent offenses. The structured program has assisted over 260 men from all over the state with a stable, drug-free environment that requires them to set goals, take action, and be accountable. Applications to the program are reviewed by the Renascence administration and staff. Before admission, residents sign a covenant to abide by all house rules and to share in household responsibilities, including upkeep of the house. Residents receive clothing, some transportation, supervision, recovery support groups, life skills training, and access to a variety of services according to their specific needs. Those services may include health care, chemical dependency treatment, educational programs (including a fatherhood program, GED preparation, and literacy instruction), and support in repairing broken family relationships.

Residents are expected to find full-time employment or a full-time combination of work, education, and volunteer service. Renascence requires its residents to become financially responsible by repaying any child-support obligations and victims’ compensation assessment, as well as by contributing 25 percent of their income to support the Renascence program. They are expected to attend all house meetings, to be present for certain evening meals, and to abide by the curfew. As residents reach agreed-upon goals and levels of responsibility, they graduate to higher phases of the program until they can live independently. Senior residents provide mentoring for newer residents. Most of the residents who have stayed with the program for six months or more have remained out of prison.

Renascence benefits many people beyond the resident: the families of the residents, by helping them re-connect in healthy, responsible ways; local employers, by affording them workers who come to the job sober and with adequate rest, food, and communal support; and the Montgomery community, by providing a stable home and support for men who might otherwise be casting about. Renascence currently saves Alabama taxpayers over $17,000 a year for every resident who does not return to prison. Although small, Renascence is the only fully-supervised (non-governmental) residential re-entry program in the state exclusively for men on parole or probation.

At its beginning, Renascence saved and restored a beautiful Victorian home in Cottage Hill. To this day, there has never been a compliant about Renascence to the police from the neighborhood. Renascence has an excellent reputation with local judges and probation officers, for whom it is the preferred “home plan” for soon-to-be-released men.

Because they are so small, Renascence does not receive state or federal funding. However, Renascence has won many faithful donors from among individuals, businesses, and churches. And almost every year, the program has been awarded grants from both the Central Alabama Community Foundation and the Daniel Foundation of Birmingham.

Consider joining the friends of Renascence in celebrating their 10th anniversary. The evening will include stories of Renascence residents, staff, and community friends. Food will be served by the fabulous Jenny Weller. So skip ordering foodpanda for one night and come have fun for a good cause! There will be drinks and raffle tickets. The popular Lo Fi Loungers will provide music and so there will also be dancing. What a great evening for a great program. Food! Drinks! Dancing!

Tickets are $65 for one person or $100 for two. Make checks payable to Renascence, Inc.; mail to 215 Clayton St.; Montgomery, AL 36104 or visit or visit For more information or questions email or telephone 334-832-1402. Renascence Inc. is a 501c (3) charitable organization.

Please join the friends of Renascence on March 3 from 6 p.m. until 9 at One Court Square, Suite 300. We are going to have a fine time and know that our contribution helps others and makes our neighborhoods stronger. If you cannot make the event, please consider a donation to support Renascence’s good work. Our neighborhoods are great places with big hearts, and Renascence is a strong example of an organization that provides a service that helps others and adds to our community at the same time.

Karren Pell is a writer, teacher, and performer who lives with her husband, Tim Henderson, and an assortment of cats and dogs in Capitol Heights. She is the author of three books. Her musical compositions range from commercial songs to theatrical works, with five musical adaptations to her credit.


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