Mary Maas and Chris Doege

Longtime Community Justice Advocate Describes the Spirit of Amicus

October 28, 2021

Retiring after more than 20 years of service to people reentering society after incarceration, Mary Maas knows there was always something more to her work at Volunteers of America’s Amicus Services than a paycheck. 

“I can’t explain it, it’s a spirit – this is what I’m supposed to do. I don’t have any intellectual reason saying, ‘I must do this.’ In my heart, this is it,” Mary said about her work. 

Through its Community Justice work, VOA benefits almost 2,000 people a year who are seeking a second chance, which represents about a quarter of the women and men released from prison in Minnesota.

Amicus is one of Minnesota’s longest standing and most successful mentoring programs. It offers services and education that works to reduce recidivism and reunite families, helping build safe, strong, and healthy communities.

“Amicus” is also Latin for “friend” and for many people leaving prison, Mary was the face of Amicus, helping people find leads for housing, jobs, or transportation. All are much more difficult to come by when one has a criminal record and sometimes an advocate who believes in you is enough to keep someone going for another day.

With her retirement, Mary has passed the responsibility of managing Amicus’ drop-in reentry services to Kristina White. Mary and Kristina continue a 50+ year tradition of forging genuine connections with the people they serve and advocating for those who are caught in
Minnesota’s criminal legal system. It’s that spirit of service, advocacy, hope, and friendship that Amicus continues to spread.