COSA needs volunteers

Apr. 23, 2014 @ 10:14 AM

Circles of Support and Accountability, the circle networks that work with sex offenders returning to the Durham community, needs volunteers. The circles were created with the purpose of “no more victims.”
Drew Doll, COSA coordinator, said he needs at least 10 people to come to an introductory training session from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on May 17 at Duke Memorial United Methodist Church. Doll told a gathering of Durham Congregations In Action, which helped start the local COSA, that only three people have signed up so far.
“I need 10 to come because I’d like to train six,” Doll said. It’s hard work and difficult work, he said, and about six of every 10 volunteers stay through training. “I only want people called to do this,” he said.
According to Circles of Support and Accountability, they “work to substantially reduce the risk of future sexual victimization of community members by assisting and supporting released individuals in their task of integrating with the community and leading responsible, productive and accountable lives.”
Doll told DCIA that a member of the first circle has found work and is paying rent on a room where he lives. A second circle member has found intermittent work, and a third person will be part of a circle when he is released from prison May 18.
“Our constraint is volunteers. We have more guys than volunteer staff,” Doll said. “The guys we work with are the very highest risk to the community.” He said their chance of re-offending is almost 100 percent. They are from Durham or committed their crimes in Durham.
“They’re coming back to Durham anyway,” Doll said, emphasizing the need for COSA. He also said that, “No one has sinned so greatly they’re outside the grace of God.”
Doll said he would be glad to come talk to congregations about sexual offenders and COSA.
The training session May 17 will provide history of COSA and the framework model as well as information about other circles in the U.S., Canada and Europe. There will also be an introduction to the psychology of the offender. The training is led by Robin J. Wilson and Andrew McWhinnie. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided. Monthly information sessions will also be held at 6 p.m. May 1, June 5, July 10 and Aug. 7 at the Durham Criminal Justice Resource Center. For information, contact Drew Doll at 919-228-0997 or drew.doll@durhamcosa.org.