From the beginning, Crossroads has depended on people from churches to care for incarcerated people by serving as volunteer mentors. For the past four decades, thousands have heeded the call.

Among the more than three thousand mentors serving our students, one hundred have been serving for twenty-five years or more. A few of our longest-serving mentors share their Crossroads stories.


Judy, a mentor in Iowa, pictured with her current husband, Dan.

Judy, a mentor in Iowa, pictured with her current husband, Dan.

Students Helped Her through Tough Losses

“My twin sister was a Crossroads [mentor] before I was, and she got me started. . . . [She] died of cancer at fifty-six, and it just seemed fitting that I continue in honor of her. . . .

“Some of my students have walked with me through the loss of my husband of forty-five years and my [parents]. . . . They were a real source of encouragement to me. We are like extended family. One even called me Grandma Judy! I just loved it! The real truth is that, as a mentor, you are often so blessed by your students. And they so badly need someone from the outside to care for them! I have one student who has NO ONE on the outside. His parents have both died, and his only sister has abandoned him! It is so sad! I feel blessed that I can be his connection to the outside world. It is a blessing to communicate with Crossroads students! I am not sure who is more blessed, me or the student!”


Grace responds to a student’s lesson at her kitchen table in Illinois.

Grace responds to a student’s lesson at her kitchen table in Illinois.

Mentoring Is an All-Family Commitment

Photo caption: Grace responds to a student’s lesson at her kitchen table in Illinois.

“I was raised in a Christian home. When I was a teenager, I put my faith in Jesus as my personal Savior. As my faith grew, I also wanted Jesus to be the Lord of my life. I wanted to share the Bible with others in ways that God would lead me.

“In 1997, Crossroads was asking for mentors. I felt God calling me to respond to this opportunity to share the good news. That’s when my husband and I both became mentors. We began with Tier 1 students, and in 1998, I added a Tier 2 student.

“I’ve had some students who share their lives with me by writing me a letter. I tell them I will pray for them about specific requests, and they appreciate that. Some have gone on to complete their Tier 2 course.

“Our six children and some of their spouses and their children are also now mentors. Recently, my husband passed away. I hope to continue as a mentor as long as God allows me to do so.”


Lois, a mentor in Michigan

Lois, a mentor in Michigan

“I can’t wait to meet my students when we all get to heaven”

“Every week, when I write the Tier 1 letter, I’m so thankful I can get up and have the freedom to do what I want with my day. . . . I feel blessed to be one of the many, many mentors who invest an hour a week in bringing someone closer to the Lord.

“As I tell many of my students, this life is like a brief second compared to the hundreds and thousands of years we will spend in eternity. How much time do we spend thinking about where that eternity will be? If being in prison is the reason someone gets right with God, it will have been worth it 100 percent!

“I can’t wait to meet my many Crossroads students when we all get to heaven. . . . What a celebration that will be!”


Esther, a mentor in Iowa

Esther, a mentor in Iowa

“These students led me to a closer walk with God”

“Being a former teacher and always mission minded, this was a good fit for me. I could witness for the Lord from home! After a few months with Tier 1 students, I asked for Tier 2 students as well. I loved the exchange of letters. . . . I have many wonderful letters from Tier 2 and 3 students. Watching their spiritual growth was rewarding. They expressed their appreciation freely.

Spiritual growth was also a benefit for me. Each lesson I reviewed (we called it correcting in those days), helped me dig more deeply into the Scriptures and prayers for these students led me to a closer walk with God. It also helped me to express my faith more accurately.”



Learn more about serving as a volunteer mentor through Crossroads.


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