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Rehabilitation Programs Division

Volunteer Services Program

2016 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards

Friendswood Woman Receives Governor's Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award

Photo of Award Winner(s) From left to right: Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Dale Wainwright, Jennifer Gilbert and Texas Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Brad Livingston.

(AUSTIN) – Jennifer Gilbert of Friendswood, Texas was presented the Pathfinder Award during the Governor's 2016 Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award program today. The award is given to an individual or group that has demonstrated leadership qualities in their volunteer service and made significant contributions to the welfare of victims.

The award was presented by Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Dale Wainwright and TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston during a ceremony in Austin.

"The unwavering dedication of these volunteers to help others succeed is truly inspiring," said Livingston. "The impact of their efforts will be felt across the state of Texas for many years to come."

"Volunteering is not a choice for the men and women being recognized today," said Wainwright. "They see it as a responsibility and for that we're thankful."

Ms. Gilbert and her children were the victims of a violent crime in their home six years ago. Since that time, she has worked closely with the Crime Victim Services Division. Ms. Gilbert says her "true healing" came when she participated in the Mediation Dialogue program and spoke directly to the person who victimized her and her family. "After that I was asked to speak on a Victim Impact panel," said Ms. Gilbert. "I then felt God calling me to do volunteer work within TDCJ." She said that she wants to help other victims and their families to be able to move on with their lives and not be victims anymore. Ms. Gilbert also wants offenders to see the hurt that they have caused by their crimes but help them heal, as well.

When not volunteering, Ms. Gilbert enjoys reading, singing, tutoring and spending time with her children.

Ms. Gilbert is one of 15 individuals and 6 organizations from across the state recognized for their efforts to help inmates and those who are on parole or probation. They donate many hours of their personal time every year with the goal of changing the lives of convicted offenders, and aiding and comforting their victims.

In FY2015, there were 22,000 volunteers who provided a total of 262,442 hours of service.

Note to media: For more information, contact Jason Clark, TDCJ Public Information Director, at 936-437-6052 or by e-mail at jason.clark@tdcj.texas.gov – For high resolution photos of award recipients, contact Jene Andersen at jene.andersen@tdcj.texas.gov.