What exactly does the KAIROS of San Diego do?
KAIROS Inside begins with an introductory 4-day weekend, described as a short course in Christianity. This weekend program is modeled after the Cursillo method and is based on a series of talks by laymen and clergy. Interspersed throughout the weekend is music, prayer, activities, a chance to form relationships and demonstrate Christ’s love. KAIROS of San Diego currently supports programs in all five yards: Yards A, B, C, D and E. All attendees for the KAIROS Inside weekends are nominated by previous graduates of the KAIROS Program. Normally there are over 100 nominations for the 24-36 available open spots for the weekend in each Yard. The KAIROS Inside Leadership team, with input from the Yard Pastors, will decide which inmates, plus several alternates, will be chosen to attend. Because of the success of the KAIROS Inside program, there is never a shortage of people that desire to attend.
KAIROS of San Diego organizes and oversees the following events at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJDCF):
- KAIROS Inside weekends in RJDCF are starting to ramp up after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down access to outside volunteers.
- August 2021 was the first weekend program and we were blessed to open KAIROS programming on Yard E with great enthusiasm.
- KAIROS Inside volunteers expect to be running 4-8 KAIROS weekend events as early as 2023
- Facilitate weekly Prayer & Share meetings in each yard chapel, run by the KAIROS graduates
- Holds monthly KAIROS Inside reunions in all yards to instill community and encourage small groupings.
- Plans twice yearly two-day retreats for the inmates (KAIROS Inside Graduates and volunteers). These retreats are used to reinforce the KAIROS weekend message.
- Joint sponsors special holiday events or activities at RJDCF for inmates and volunteers.
- Works closely with the Pastors-to-Prisons Program.
The current prison population, in addition to Christians, is composed of Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, Wiccan, Satanists, Odinist, and other beliefs. KAIROS brings an inter-denominational team of Christian volunteers, both clergy and laypersons, into the prison environment to establish relationships with the inmates. By bringing the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ into prison, KAIROS provides an effective program to positively change inmate attitudes, behaviors and lives. In addition to KAIROS Inside weekends, KAIROS volunteers make a commitment to continue with monthly visits for KAIROS reunions and two-day retreats. These KAIROS Reunions are a way to instill community, show continued support by volunteers and encourage inmates in their weekly small “Prayer and Share” group meetings.
How could I become part of the KAIROS Ministry program?
KAIROS of San Diego community is an organization of well organized and trained volunteer teams of men and women, drawn from the Christian communities surrounding RJDCF. The KAIROS program is governed by the KAIROS of San Diego Advisory Council. This council organizes and oversees all KAIROS activities at RJDCF. The council and community is comprised of an inter-denominational team of volunteers, both clergy and laypersons. The KAIROS ministry team works in cooperation with the RJDCF Protestant Chaplain and Yard Pastors to carefully select inmates plus alternates to attend a KAIROS Inside weekend in each Yard. This same group selects the “Outside” (volunteers) and “Inside” (inmate) teams. The Inside team consists of inmates who graduated from a previous KAIROS Inside weekend. The Outside and Inside teams meet separately and together to finally form the complete KAIROS Inside Weekend team.
To become part of the KAIROS Community and work inside the prison on a KAIROS Inside Weekend, you need:
- You must be male – women are currently not allowed to participate on the KAIROS Inside weekend at RJDCF. However, there are many women that volunteer to help with prayer support, logistics and baking cookies. Women also work the KAIROS Outside weekends.
- To Have Had Your Own Experience: Complete a weekend experience of your own. Qualifying events include Cursillo, Walk to Emmaus, Alternative Qualifying Weekend, KAIROS Graduate, or Eighth Table Observer.
- Prison Clearance: The Application Process site can get you started.
- Volunteer training: You must submit a Clearance Request package, a copy of a recent TB test (within 1 year) and proof of Volunteer Orientation Training (certificates). Once the package is submitted and processed, you will be contacted if clarification is needed and notified about your clearance effective dates. This places your name on the volunteer gate clearance list and you are cleared to enter RJDCF. Clearance Request package can be found on the Application Process site.
- Warden’s Approval: You must be approved to participate in KAIROS activities within the prison. The Warden reviews any criminal record and individually approves participation by ex-offenders.
- Be selected: The Weekend Leaders chooses volunteers from the KAIROS community to serve on the KAIROS Inside Weekend teams.
- Members of the Christian community are invited to attend the closing ceremony on one of the yards at the conclusion of the KAIROS Inside Weekend. Of course, all members of the community actively support the weekend through prayer and financial support.
- Have a strong desire to bring the message of Christ’s unconditional love to those who thirst for it behind prison walls.
Not quite ready to volunteer for a weekend, but would like to learn more? Consider coming to one of the KAIROS Inside Weekend Closing Ceremonies and see how God has changed lives.
Both KAIROS Inside and KAIROS Outside spread the gospel through:
- Unconditional love and acceptance in a Christian setting
- Encouraging the sharing of life’s journey.
- Fostering spiritual growth.
- Promoting participation in support groups.
- Creating an opportunity for a relationship with God.
- Building relationships with other Christians, both in prison and outside.
We provide just the acceptance and love that Jesus Christ brings to each person through the team members. The volunteers (both lay and clergy) demonstrate the Love of Jesus Christ in a tangible way through testimonies and actions.