Record Staff Writer
Bringing a little liveliness and fun to the Roswell Correctional Center this weekend, Johnny Gonzales is up to his usual planning and once again has organized an event to help others.
In order to encourage the inmates, the 25th annual Prison Outreach will bring music, food and society to the correctional center. Coming from surrounding states, 59 volunteers will assemble and enjoy the weekend.
“It’s to let them know society still wants them in
… They are not forgotten, and that’s our message to them:
that someone still loves them.”
Everything will start Friday night with an Appreciation Dinner at 7 p.m. at Los Cerritos to show appreciation for the volunteers and honor those whose families have been involved for all 25 years.
Then, on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, all the volunteers will spend time at the compound. There will be cookies, nachos and Kool-Aid to keep everyone refreshed, and a variety of music will be played. From a prison rock band to Native American dancers, the activities are meant to create a social environment outside.
Gonzales is very thankful Program Director Mary Christianson approved the event, because without her nothing would happen, he said. He also had endless praise for both the guards and volunteers.
“The guards have been really cooperative,” Gonzales said. “I’m not bragging on them, but they are very, very, very good people. And all the other volunteers coming have paid their own way and are very interested in the men. They want to come and make the inmates feel that someone still cares for them.”
The event is meant to encourage the 500 inmates, mostly all between ages 20 and 31, Gonzales said.
“It’s to let them know society still wants them in,” he explained. “They are not forgotten, and that’s our message to them: that someone still loves them.”
The event can only be attended by reservation, but for anyone interested, Gonzales plans to have parties at the compound for Thanksgiving and Christmas. He also still needs help with cookies and nachos for this event. For questions or to offer services, call Gonzales at 624-7579.