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The Gift of Making Friends – a Letter from Barry

January 18, 2013
Kevin and Barry

Amicus Friends Kevin and Barry

Editor’s Note- This post came to Amicus from Barry, an inmate currently serving a life sentence at Minnesota Correctional Facility – Stillwater. Determined to show he has changed from the young man who committed his crimes, Barry has worked during his incarceration to earn two Associate degrees, his Bachelors, and is nearing his Masters degree in Business. He has also become an experienced group leader, mentor and teacher.  Barry is a regular participant in the Amicus Connections group at Stillwater and was matched with Kevin through the One to One program in 2010. 


“Blessed are they who have the gift of making friends, for it is one of God’s best gifts. It involves many things, but above all, the power of going out of one’s self and appreciating whatever is noble and loving in another”                 – THOMAS HUGHES (1822-1896).

I’ve been involved with Amicus for the past 14 years.

It is by far one of the most enriching experiences of my life. The dedication and commitment of the staff and volunteers has helped to bring hope to my life in ways I never thought possible. Hope is such a valued commodity, especially while incarcerated. When you find it, it is such a precious gift. The Amicus One to One Program has been a tremendous blessing in my life. The program matches a volunteer from the community with an individual who is incarcerated. It brings people together and looks to build community friendships that are lasting. What I like so much about the program is that it’s based on who you are as a person, not the mistakes you’ve made. It gives opportunities to find meaningful friendships and helps to build a sense of belonging.

My Amicus friend is Kevin. Our friendship is one of the most rewarding experiences I have. God has truly blessed me with this friendship. The quote from Thomas Hughes says it all, “the power of going out of one’s self and appreciating whatever is noble and loving in another.” This is the embodiment of what Kevin has done for me. Our relationship has grown in many ways.

I consider Kevin one of my closest friends and enjoy our visits and conversations immensely. This friendship has helped bring purpose to my life. It has encouraged me to continue to strive for excellence in all that I do and to build healthy and lasting relationships with all those around me.

A special thank you goes to every person who has invested in the lives of those behind the walls – I am truly grateful!


One Comment leave one →
  1. Kevin Stefonek permalink
    January 29, 2013 11:39 am

    I try to explain to people what Amicus One To One friendships can do for a person; how it impacts you and adds to your life. It’s not easy to explain something that is felt so deeply – but it is a personal understanding, an emotion, a life experience that I wish everyone would allow themselves to enjoy just by putting yourself out there and getting involved. There is nothing difficult, or stressful, or overwhelming about allowing such a friendship to develop. It’s a blessing, pure and simple. How many times do we see so much good emerge from a bad situation? But it doesn’t happen sitting on the sidelines. I encourage everyone to get involved and be a friend.
    With very sincere thanks! Barry’s friend, Kevin

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