As a volunteer with re-entry programs, I often hear how folks in our community laud the work we do to reduce barriers for folks who are rebuilding their lives after incarceration. The harm and trauma experienced before, during , and after incarceration often create tremendous challenges for the individuals who experience it, their families, and the larger community. That's why supporting the idea of re-entry work and programs simply isn't enough. We need action that initiates positive change.
Every April, during Second Chance Month, I love to share the work that YWCA's Labyrinth Outreach and Labyrinth Made Goods are doing to support women who have experienced incarceration. Labyrinth believes that every woman deserves opportunities to support herself and her family with dignity. They offer supportive case managers, transitional housing, professional development training, and paid transitional employment. We've seen firsthand how this combination of resources and support can lead to transformational experiences for the women who participate.
"I needed stability. And Labyrinth Made Goods gave me everything-a brand new start. I started believing in myself again" Shay, Lead Business Apprentice, Labyrinth Made Goods.
Labyrinth programs have been recognized nationally as a model for other communities. Yet, we can't take these programs for granted. They require crucial supplies, resources, and staffing to continue their work. We must invest in them to ensure they have the financial sustainability to flourish. Please join me investing in YWCA McLean County and /or by gifting candles from Labyrinth Made Goods to ensure the transformations continue.
Sincerely, Linda Kimber YWCA McLean County Board Chair
This Letter to the Editor was published in the Pantagraph. Read more here.