In 2016 the Lord called Bethany Davis and Jennifer Smith to open Cornerstone Transition Home, a faith-based ministry for women paroling from prison. These two women came from different backgrounds but shared a common bond in the Lord and a love for the inmate population.
Bethany resigned after serving 18 years in education. Through the support of her husband, she stepped out on faith and trusted that God would equip her to minister to women in need of a fresh opportunity. She is a Mom to two adult children and a NiNi to her three grandsons.
Jennifer’s youth was filled with addiction and violence, resulting in an 11 ½ year sentence in the Arkansas Department of Corrections. While in prison, she heard the truth of the gospel and surrendered her life to follow Christ. While incarcerated, her aim was to allow God to use her to help set others free.
In February of 2016, these two women sat down at Bethany’s kitchen table with an Arkansas Community Corrections (ACC) application packet in front of them. By faith they asked the Lord to guide them. A Board of Directors was formed, fundraising began, a 7,000 square foot home was financed, an application was mailed, and the ACC license was granted. On December 12, 2016, Cornerstone’s first three ladies walked through the front doors of their fully furnished home.
Once women have been approved for parole and released, they are picked up at the prison by Cornerstone staff and arrive with nothing more than a brown paper bag of release items and documents. They are taken to Cornerstone where basic needs are met. Residents live onsite with 24/7 staff supervision. Each lady receives a $20 gift card to Walmart along with a trip to Rebecca’s House of Hope, our donation hub, to receive a wardrobe provided by donors near and far. The staff works alongside each lady to obtain necessary documents for employment. Transportation for interviews and secured jobs are provided. Ladies are supervised by the local parole office during their stay. When dental, medical, or mental needs arise, ladies are encouraged to make their own appointments, yet Cornerstone provides the mode of transportation. Ladies also receive one-on-one budgeting guidance. Many pursue their educational goals by enrolling in GED or college classes. Women are required to reside at Cornerstone for a minimum of 90 days. However, some ladies choose to stay longer because they enjoy the family environment and desire continued accountability.
One goal of Cornerstone is to partner with the state to reduce the startling recidivism rate of over 50%. Most women return to the same environments and associations resulting in a cycle of repeated destructive decisions. For those who want a change, the opportunity is given to them.
Cornerstone has served more than 200 women. This ministry thrives under the guidance of their Board of Directors. There are four avenues through which the organization financially operates: ACC funding, resident rent, donations, and fundraising. The team of Cornerstone recognizes that God is ultimately the Initiator, Provider, and Sustainer of this ministry. Our desire is to see women surrender to Christ and follow His plan for their life.
Cornerstone Transitional Housing Ministry, Inc.
dba Rebecca’s House of Hope
501c3 nonprofit, public charity