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Stand in the Gap

Look what you did! Proof that 2020 wasn’t all bad…

By January 20, 2021June 24th, 2022No Comments

2020. It was a year of anxiety, fear, uncertainty, doubt… and a year of opportunity. 

2020. It was a year of anxiety, fear, uncertainty, doubt… and a year of opportunity.  

Stand in the Gap is a volunteer-centric ministry. Volunteers were hard to recruit and train. The prison system was locked down, making it impossible to teach our Women in Transition course for most of the year. However, I believe 2020 was our most significant year to date.  

Most importantly, we hired 3 new members of our team.  In addition to having the strongest, most talented, and deepest staff we’ve ever had, we have come together and “gelled” as a team like never before.  

We also made incredible enhancements to various aspects of our “foundation”, such as developing online volunteer training and leveraging a relational database tool to document operational processes. We are changing our culture of operating 3 separate programs and working more collaboratively, thus strengthening our culture and fostering more creativity. 

We were honored with the Flourish Award in celebration of our partnership with Branch 15. Our strong working relationship supports women as they create new lives for themselves and their families after incarceration.

And, after 5+ years working with the University of Oklahoma’s Hope Research Center, we completed the Hope Survey analysis for our small group ministry model, proving through quantifiable measurements that we are making significant improvement in the hope of the people we serve, leading to life transformation.  

In 2020 we positioned Stand in the Gap to continue to increase the impact we are making. We are hopeful about our future because God reigns on His throne and we seek to do His will, in His way, and in His perfect timing. 

Will you join us? By donating today you create hope tomorrow.

With hope,

Francois Cardinal, Executive Director

A Growing Staff

We hired Stand in the Gap for Widows Program Director, JoLeta Nash, Life Launch Oklahoma City Program Manager, Hayden Coffee, and HR and Finance Director, Crystal Pirkle.

Growing Together

Moving away from our previous model of operating 3 separate programs (Women in Transition, Life Launch, & Stand in the Gap for Widows) we are working more collaboratively and strengthening our culture.

Enhanced Foundation

We improved online volunteer training, leveraged a database tool to organize and document procedures, and coordinated our efforts across programs.

Hope Quantified

After 5+ years working with OU Tulsa’s Hope Research Center, we completed the Hope Survey analysis for our small group model, proving through quantifiable outcome measurement that Stand in the Gap brings hope to the lives of people we serve.

Keep scrolling for the 2020 reporting results from Women in Transition, Life Launch, and Stand in the Gap for Widows.

“Women in Transition is the most impactful program I have measured in 12 years of work.”

Dr. Evie Muilenburg-Trevino, Research Scientist

Women in Transition Hopeful Highlights


Brooklyn took our Women in Transition course at Jordan’s Crossing (one of the few facilities that has been open to us teaching the course since COVID). She celebrated her graduation from her Stand in the Gap small group along with her recovery from homelessness and her reunion with her daughter. Her Stand in the Gap family “worked recovery” with Brooklyn and the dividends are paying off big time!


Ashley climbed some mountains and walked through some valleys with her Stand in the Gap family, but because of her life change, she was reunited with her four children BEFORE the Coronavirus outbreak. She completed her one-year small group commitment and her small group celebrated all the progress in her life.


Oklahoma prisons and jails are still closed to volunteers. That means we still aren't back to teaching our Women in Transition course behind prison walls. But we have started doing the next best thing!
We offer our class at several transitional living home facilities and partner organizations. Kathy is now back in to teach Women in Transition at Jordan's Crossing facility in Oklahoma City. Her first week back, one woman said, "I don't care if I have to stay at Jordan's Crossing a year, I'm going to stay as long as I have to to change my life." (We also taught the course at ReMerge for the first time and ladies at Oklahoma County Jail missed our class so much, they asked to go through the curriculum on their own!)


Sara participated in our Women in Transition program once before. But struggles led her away. She has returned, and Program Director, Rhonda Bear, says, "she returned humble and ready to surrender to Jesus Christ." Today, Sara is thriving. She is growing with her Stand in the Gap small group, promoted to management at McDonald's, passed her driver's test, and was blessed with a donated car!

The 2020 problem: Our Women in Transition clients struggled with relapse, anxiety, and the triggering that isolation can cause both inside and outside prison walls.


28 kids were restored to live with their healthy, sober mothers.

small groups graduated

75% of Women in Transition teams finished 1 year with a small group.


69 Stand in the Gap small groups served women coming out of prison or jail in 2020.


We were able to serve 1,123 women through our Women in Transition course.

“After participating in Life Launch, statistically significant findings were observed for hope, self-esteem, existential wellbeing, and trust.”

Dr. Evie Muilenburg-Trevino, Research Scientist

Life Launch Hopeful Highlights


Mason’s first Life Launch team in Tulsa closed early because he moved to Norman to be adopted after 13 years in foster care! We matched him with a new team in Norman so he still has the support of Life Launch during this transition.


Malik is a young man who has been through a lot. But his positive outlook on life, along with his Life Launch mentorship experience, has brought him to this point. He is in college, has several jobs, and saved up to buy his own car. The future is bright for Malik. In October we celebrated his Life Launch graduation!


In April, we published online training portals for Life Launch and Women in Transition. Incoming volunteers can access all the materials they need to form a new Stand in the Gap small group. We continued to enhance the materials throughout the year but we are grateful that we'd already taken (pre-COVID) the first steps necessary to make online training possible!


Life Launch Team Noah celebrated his graduation from the program in December! Noah got his GED and is beginning his Graphic Arts degree. Hayden Coffee, OKC Life Launch Program Manager, says, "We are so proud of the way that Noah met his goals and is becoming who he is made to be. There were many successes along the way and we are excited to see his relationships continue to thrive and flourish in the future! Way to go mentors and Noah for an incredible year."

The 2020 problem: Due to school closures and lockdowns, referrals dropped significantly as our partners struggled to even locate many of the young adults they had been serving prior to COVID19.


40 young adults were served through Life Launch small groups in 2020.

small groups

78% of Life Launch teams finished 1 year with a small group.


58 potential volunteers were trained to be Life Launch mentors.

“I firmly believe that we will be successful in creating a nationwide ‘Widows Movement’ in the coming years.”

TJ Warren, Stand in the Gap Director of Programs

Stand in the Gap for Widows Hopeful Highlights


First Christian Church, Sapulpa knew they needed to support their widows while the church was closed. Church members made phone calls, sent cards, placed yard signs, and delivered a special meal. They are sharing prayer requests by email and celebrating wedding anniversaries by phone call.


Before the COVID lockdowns, we celebrated Valentine’s Day with 400 widows. Our amazing church partner, Asbury United Methodist, hosted an evening of love, fun, and laughter for widows in the Tulsa community.


Our widow partner programs at The Church of the Living God and Vernon AME delivered meals to those in need. The widows delivered frozen dinners (supplied by Meals on Wheels) to homebound senior citizens and others who have been laid off during the COVID 19 period.


Some of the ladies in our small group for widows at Asbury United Methodist Church had enough time in quarantine! They resumed their monthly meetings in August at a safe social distance AND by Zoom! We love to see this community showing up and staying safe.

The 2020 problem: In general, the widows population is more at-risk for COVID, and therefore more isolated than ever. In addition, our church partners were working to adjust and forced to do ministry differently.


2,550 widows were impacted through Stand in the Gap for Widows in 2020.


75 church partners carried out the mission and ministry of Stand in the Gap for Widows to the women in their communities.


12,750 volunteer hours were committed to making widows feel supported and loved through Stand in the Gap for Widows.

Learn more about Women in Transition

Stand in the Gap’s proven effective small group mentorship ministry for women after incarceration.

Learn more about Life Launch

Stand in the Gap’s proven effective small group mentorship ministry for young adults from hard places.

Learn more about Stand in the Gap for Widows

Stand in the Gap’s proven effective partnership opportunity for the local church.