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The original item was published from 4/22/2020 1:34:10 PM to 5/23/2020 12:00:03 AM.

News Flash

City of Winooski News Updates

Posted on: April 22, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Winooski Seeks Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) Volunteers

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The Winooski Community Justice Center is looking for volunteers for the Circles of Support and Accountability Program (CoSA). As you may know, the State of Vermont Department of Public Safety has authorized vulnerable incarcerated individuals to return to their communities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These individuals are often marginalized and have few, if any, natural social supports. During this difficult time of isolation and stress, the Winooski Community Justice Center has partnered with the Essex Community Justice Center to ensure that CoSA volunteers continue to provide this essential service. CoSA volunteers are often the key to creating meaningful connections and achieving successful reentry for those returning to our communities. 

  • What is a Circle of Support and Accountability? 

The core of the CoSA Program is the mantra “No More Victims”. The Circle of Support and Accountability (COSA) is an evidence-based model of engaging with someone who is coming out of incarceration, who wants to make changes and be a law-abiding citizen, and who is at risk to re-offend because of a number of issues, including a lack of support from friends, family, and their community. A COSA is a team of 3-4 trained community volunteers and a Reentry Coordinator, who works at the Community Justice Center. To learn more about this model, visit the VT Dept. of Human Service’s CoSA page.

  • How CoSA works during COVID-19

In adherence to the social distancing policies set out by the CDC and the Vermont Department of Health, volunteers will attend our training session and provide services to clients remotely via a video teleconferencing platform such as Zoom. Staff provides all training and support for CoSA Volunteers. There is no expectation for in-person contact during this time. The CoSA team hosts a virtual/remote weekly meeting with clients, or “core-members”, where volunteers:

  • develop pro-social relationships
  • promote internal accountability
  • provide support, coaching, & mentoring
  • serve as a role model of behavior and positive activity
  • converse about daily struggles
  • anticipate challenges 
  • have fun!

After building trust over time, volunteers may choose to engage in one on one mentoring and/or social activities with a core-member.

If you are interested and want to volunteer, click here fill out our application

Questions regarding this program can be sent to:

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