A First for IJM and TRI

A few weeks ago marked the beginning of a new chapter for both The Rest Initiative and International Justice Mission. TRI had the privilege of helping facilitate IJM’s first reentry retreat for the interns and fellows who have served in one of their field offices. IJM has always cared well for their staff and this is just one more layer of support put in place to assure their people are being taken care of. The weekend retreat had a number of points of interest, all of which focused on staff care and providing avenues to stay connected with the work of IJM.

Eleven past interns and fellows attended, each having spent anywhere between one to two years on the field. Some have been back for a year and others just a few days. The group was treated to a tour of the National Gallery of Art by Jan Haugen and spent some time at IJM headquarters. Gary Haugen took time to encourage and listen to the returning interns and fellows which provided a sense of intimacy in the midst of a large group.

TRI’s main role was to facilitate the therapeutic sessions in which each participant had the space to focus on their needs for reentry. There was a focus on the experiences of the internship, the present realities of the transition, and a look into how these experiences will shape their future.

Like all events similar to this, it is understood that it is just the beginning of self-care. Even though we spent time in large and small groups, a longer season of self-care will be needed for everyone. IJM is committed to being there for that season and TRI has the privilege of standing with them.

TRI is encouraged to see an organization of this caliber continue the conversation of expat care before, during and after. IJM Director Erin Clifford brought her shepherding talents and passionate heart as her vision for personal reentry care undergirded the weekend. Erin has kept the vision of a reentry weekend at the forefront of the intern and fellows program and it became a reality this year. We are grateful for Erin’s leadership and continue to share in their excitement as these reentry weekends become a part of IJM’s DNA.

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