The Big Payback is coming May 6, 2014!
Dismas House of Nashville opened its doors in 1974. The idea of having university students share a home with individuals who have been released from incarceration was conceived by the late Father Jack Hickey, O.P. along with a group of students from Vanderbilt University, where Father Jack was a Chaplain. Originally an extension of the Vanderbilt Prison Project, Dismas House continues to address the likely challenges faced by many of those being released back into society - housing, employment, support, and hope. Without these, many former inmates are likely to recidivate.
Dismas is the traditional name of the repentant thief at Calvary (Luke XXII, 39-43). Many former prisoners in today's world can also be seen as "Dismas" - punished, repentant, and deserving of forgiveness and a new beginning.
Program participants typically live at Dismas House of Nashville for approximately four months and depart having secured independent housing, stable income, greater community support, and hope for their future. While at Dismas, residents are expected to diligently pursue and attain a viable source of income, participate in programming, help with house chores, and pay program fees.
Staff members, house residents, and community volunteers work together to create a family-like atmosphere, hence the slogan: "Dismas is Family." This slogan reflects a belief that each member of the household is a member of a "family" that works together to forgive, encourage, reach goals, achieve positive results, and reconcile.
Gina Morton, M.S.