Rockford Reachout hosts annual ‘Night in the Garden’ fundraiser

Staff Report

On Thursday, July 16 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Rockford Reachout will host its 3rd annual “A Night in the Garden” summer fundraising event at Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens, 1354 N. Second St.

This year’s theme is working towards an end to violent crime in our community and the major goal of the event is to raise the funding necessary to help create a community-wide adult mentor program to prepare and equip men and women returning from jail and prison to succeed in our community.

For over forty years, Rockford Reachout Jail Ministry has engaged men and women inside the Winnebago County Jail through its Reachout Inside program.

Reachout Inside engages adult offenders with weekly class programs that challenge the thoughts, attitudes and behaviors that lead to crime.

Reachout Inside instructors and mentors also meet with men jail residents 1-on-1 to build a relationship of trust, and to continue the progress made during class time.

Funds from the Night in the Garden event will help Rockford Reachout expand its Reachout Outside ministry program.

Upon their release, Reachout Outside volunteers (life coaches) work with men and women returning from incarceration to continue the work started inside, and to help prepare them for productive, crime-free life in our community.

“The need is to continue the progress we make inside the jail after these folks return home,” says George Hofstetter, executive director of Rockford Reachout Jail Ministry (the parent program of Reachout Inside and Reachout Outside).

“Successful reentry mentor programs have been shown reduce repeat crime by as much as 50% or more. Reachout Outside is in a perfect position to become the leading mentor program in the region, Hofstetter says.

Tickets to the event are $50.00 and may be purchased at the door or online at

For more information about Rockford Reachout or Reachout Outside, visit or call 815-319-6625.

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