‘Helping Other People Every Day’ at the H.O.P.E. Transitional Treatment Center

“I mean, I felt welcome the second I walked in.”

Stephen Vinez is a client at the H.O.P.E. Transitional Treatment Center in Henderson, Texas. “And the second they picked me up, I felt welcome. It was cool. I mean, I’m going to be happy to leave, don’t get me wrong – go home to my loved ones. But this is – they’ve got something going on good here.”

H.O.P.E. stands for “Helping Other People Every Day”. The mission here is to prepare those who will soon be released from prison to have a successful re-entry into society. The clients find work, take substance abuse counseling, and in all other ways get ready for their release, which is usually a couple of months away.

HOPE Tour Still
MTC’s H.O.P.E. Transitional Treatment Center.

Located right next door to the East Texas Treatment Facility, the H.O.P.E. facility was opened in 2022. Shana Ferrara is the program director.

“We’ve all learned so much and grown together that we’re learning how to work together as a team,” she says. “And it’s all about meeting the clients’ needs. So, our goal is to equip them with the tools they need.”

“They care about their clients,” says Amber Odell, a client herself. “They try to help you with anything you ask them to do. They care about our well-being. It’s not just a job to them.”

HOPE Tour Still
MTC staff and H.O.P.E. residents.

Mason Adams is a residential monitor. “You see them go from one of the lowest points to the highest point,” he says. “You get to be there for that whole ride. I think that’s pretty cool.”

“I feel blessed for being here,” adds Natasha Bryant, also a residential monitor. “Everybody has their good days and bad days, but we all push through. We come together as one and we push through.”

“You’re treating these people like regular human beings,” explains Vivian Fullen, a senior residential advisor. “Because that’s who they are. And you’re helping them reintegrate into the world. So, H.O.P.E. is perfect for me.”

HOPE Tour Still
MTC staff and H.O.P.E. residents.

“I really couldn’t be in a better place for what it has to offer,” Stephen Vinez states. “The way the staff interacts with us as humans, treating us as humans and not as felons or just sub-humans, so to speak. It’s really all right.”

“There is a mentality of ‘lock them up, throw away the key’,” Shana reflects. “But what I’ve learned in the last 15 years (I’ve worked at a lot of transitional treatment [facilities) and you take the drugs and alcohol out of the way, and you have really good people. It’s a joy for me to see, just to see that process. Just to see that light bulb come on and see them change as individuals.”