In these weeks leading up to Boston Flourish on November 10, we’re featuring the organizations that will be presenting at the conference. This week, we’re featuring the City of Boston’s Office of Returning Citizens. We had the chance to learn more about this ministry from the director of this office David Mayo – Read below to hear about what led him to this work and how they serve returning citizens in our city!
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and your interest in working with returning citizens?
I grew up in a family of five with a single mother in an inner city community of neighborhood crews and gangs in New York City. I then became a “Fatherless Son” and spent five years as a foster child in the New York Child/Family Services system. This led me to have an interest in working with returning citizens, which I began in 2014 as a youthful Parole and Reentry Officer. I felt drawn here by God and the greater opportunity to work with incarcerated young men.
Wow, that’s fascinating. Can you share more about your church background?
I was introduced to church when I was 13 by my Great-Grandmother and found my love for God in the choir. I gave my life to Christ in June of 1990 and was called to preach six months later. I now have over thirty years of ministerial experience, having planted two churches and served as founding and senior pastor of congregations in Northern Virginia and South Carolina.
Can you share about how you serve and support returning citizens in your office?
I have had the privilege of serving in this role for the past three months and it is my job goal to engage, equip and to empower the 3000+ returning citizens of Boston with the tools to create and advocate for their independence and stability in restoring their lives. The Returning Citizen process to reentry begins about 90 days before release in setting up a reentry plan and and discussing next steps. Upon release, we connect returning citizens to resources and programs in the community and monitor their transition with case managers.
What are you hoping to come out of the gathering on November 10?
I’d love to come away with new partners who are passionate and committed to restoring the lives of returning citizens.
Can you share a story about the impact of your work?
We recently had a gentleman who was released into a halfway house. He had no ID, no family, no support and we were able to get him into a housing program. You can also watch Arlis Evans’ story below.
What is a resource that everyone should know about?
Our website has a great list of resources that are available for returning citizens – everything from birth certificates, to housing and health services, to transportation and food resources. I wish that everyone knew about it so they can help people they know in the process of reentering back into life in Boston.
What does it mean to you to see Boston Flourish?
Seeing Boston Flourish means the destruction of stereotypes and silos for the purpose of unity and the influence of the kingdom of God in the earth. If we seize the moment of this opportunity to walk in the kingdom principles that God offers to us, we have the possibility to affect change, not only in the lives of the Boston community but in the earth completely! Selah!