Gilbert Starleigh provides rare look at work as Florida Department of Corrections volunteer minister
Fellowship Baptist Church member and Second Chance Prison Ministries director Gilbert Starleigh opens up about his volunteer work within the Florida Department of Corrections.
Each year, ministerial volunteers such as Gilbert Starleigh and other fellow citizens contribute thousands of hours of their time to service in facilities overseen by the Florida Department of Corrections. The state prison system highly values the involvement of Starleigh and other volunteer ministers, it’s reported, particularly as the Florida Department of Corrections is now the third-largest such system in the U.S.
“It’s not only an opportunity to provide an important public service,” explains Gilbert Starleigh, speaking from his home in Tallahassee, Florida, “but it’s also immensely rewarding on a personal level.”
As a volunteer minister, Gilbert Starleigh helps the Florida Department of Corrections and his fellow ministers to deliver a wealth of programs and services. “As volunteer ministers, together, we’re able to bring a variety of skills,” says Starleigh, “and, with them, help to model successful leadership and citizenship abilities among those who are currently in the prison system.”
Furthermore, volunteer ministers, Gilbert Starleigh says, are also in an ideal position to help offenders on a path to becoming more productive, better educated, and, importantly, self-sufficient in life. “The hope is,” Starleigh goes on, “that these individuals will not only become law-abiding citizens, but begin a greater journey toward becoming proudly contributing members of society, too.”
Gilbert Starleigh has previously worked with Good News Outreach in Tallahassee, Florida, providing expertise in assisting in the opening and management of inmate transition homes. Good News Outreach is, Starleigh explains, dedicated to reducing hunger, homelessness, and isolation among those in need. Accordingly, Good News Outreach’s inmate transition homes supply housing, food, and social support—plus employment and educational opportunities—to the formerly incarcerated in and around Tallahassee and elsewhere across Florida.
As a registered Florida Department of Corrections volunteer minister, Gilbert Starleigh is granted access to all of the agency’s prisons. Although now retired from day-to-day involvement with Good News Outreach, as a volunteer minister, Gilbert Starleigh still directly refers many men in need of support upon leaving the Florida prison system to the organization’s transitional homes.
Many former inmates, Gilbert Starleigh points out, would, he believes, be homeless if not for the services of Good News Outreach and the care provided through its transitional homes scheme.
Elsewhere, volunteer minister and Fellowship Baptist Church member Gilbert Starleigh is the director of the church’s Second Chance Prison Ministries initiative. Involved with the church in all capacities for over a decade, Tallahassee-based Gilbert, known to his friends as Gil, and fellow congregation members at Fellowship Baptist Church, are a family of faith dedicated to loving God, loving others, and honoring Lord Jesus with their lives. An entrepreneur, Gilbert ‘Gil’ Starleigh is also one of the names behind Barnes & Starleigh Properties, and serves in a general managerial capacity on behalf of a popular local used car dealership in his home city.