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Mentoring Program Participants Volunteer to Empower Women

Real Volunteers, Real Results

Rachel is a high school Biology teacher who values volunteering. Qourtney is a pharmacy technician who did time in prison and likes motivational speaking. What's the similarity between the two? They both are mentors to women who are returning to their communities after a period of incarceration.

Both of these women have unique, individual traits that help their mentees. Rachel's mentee is a woman name Kristi. With her teaching skills, Rachel is helping Kristi study for her GED. Together, they already helped Kristi gain her ServSafe certification, which helped her get a job at Cinnabon. Kristi's really valued their relationship, "My biggest concern is not getting involved with the wrong people again. And Rachel has really supported me and helped me stay on top of things."

Qourtney has a past that enables her to empathize with women. She hosts group mentoring where she encourages the women in a group setting and relates with them about her own experiences and how she overcame difficulties. Through her efforts she hopes to instill hope and motivation in other women.

Both women value the mentoring program. In Rachel's words, "I think that seeing different perspectives gives you greater insight into the world around you, and this program definitely provided me with that opportunity. I really appreciate my time with Kristi." Qourtney states, "It's great seeing the hope and encouragement in the participants' eyes. Seeing them empowered is very rewarding."

Evidence supports the effectiveness of mentor programs for adult ex-offenders reentering the community. For example, a recent case study funded by the US Department of Labor found that ex-offenders involved in mentoring programs were more than twice as likely to find jobs. And they were 39 percent less likely to recidivate than those participants who were not mentored. According to the US Department of Labor about 650,000 people are released from prison every year but 52% of former state prisoners return to prison within three years either due to parole violation or commitment of a new crime.

About the Second Chance Mentoring Program

Volunteers of America of Indiana started the Second Chance Mentoring Program in October, 2014 through funding from the Department of Justice. Its aim is to promote more effective and successful reentry for formerly incarcerated individuals through the utilization of comprehensive, evidence-based wrap-around reentry plans which address the identified needs of the individuals and are supported by trained mentors. These needs are often related to housing, employment, substance abuse, and mental health.

The mentoring program serves 250 adults released from prison and jail and uses a research-based mentoring program designed to meet the needs of incarcerated mothers and fathers in the community (Marion County and surrounding counties).

Volunteer as a Mentor

We can't have a mentoring program if we don't have any mentors. As of March 2016, we have a waiting list of 53 mentees. Your help is needed. Volunteers are required to be at least 18 years old, commit 8-10 hours a month for one year, and must not have a felony conviction or have been incarcerated within the past 2 years. Consistent training is provided. To become involved, contact Latrice Watson at or 317.200.3632.

Take a look at this infographic that highlights statistics about recidivism and the cost of incarceration in Marion County.