The ShowMe Healthy Relationships Program offers free courses for individuals who would like to learn more about healthy relationships. The courses are designed to help those that are not in a committed relationship learn how to identify the qualities that make a healthy partner, and how to communicate and maintain relationships. Participants also learn how parenting, finances, and personal well-being impact their healthy relationship choices.
Amanda took a deep breath, inhaling the smell of freedom as she walked out the gates of the Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center (WERDCC) and moved toward a new beginning.
Female inmates, like Amanda, often face unique challenges when transitioning out of prison and into civilian life. Upon release, they often have few personal items and little or no money. Meeting their basic needs and having strong emotional support is vital to their survival. But, it’s often hard for these women to find emotional support. Their ability to build and maintain healthy, lasting relationships is often negatively impacted by their past experiences. According to the National Resource Center on Justice-Involved Women, many female inmates report having experienced abuse as a child or adult. They also suffer from mental health problems such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance abuse. Unhealthy past relationships often impact the identity and self-worth of these women and make it difficult for them to develop healthy, supportive relationships to aid in their successful transition out of prison. This was especially true for Amanda. Thankfully, while incarcerated, she participated in the ShowMe Healthy Relationships (SMHR) program, a program offered through Central Missouri Community Action (CMCA), that teaches people how to build and maintain healthy relationships.
When she first met Amanda, Nolanda Dodd, CMCA ShowMe Healthy Relationships Program Manager, says that she was eager to participate and always contributed to group discussions.
Not long after completing the ShowMe Healthy Relationships program, Amanda was released from prison and moved to transitional housing in a new community.
“After I was released from prison I moved to a new community and went into a sober living arrangement called FreshStart, and my mind flooded,” said Amanda. “I got in contact with the ladies at CMCA SMHR and was able to get into a stress management class called Taking Care of You.”
As she attended the Taking Care of You classes, Amanda’s confidence grew and soon she shared that she had a job interview. While excited about the opportunity, she was also nervous because she didn’t have the money to purchase the required work uniform.
“When I heard this, I knew what I had to do,” said Nolanda.
As part of completing the SHMR program, participants are eligible to receive a gift card, and Amanda was waiting to receive hers. Because Amanda was living nearby, Nolanda decided to deliver the card to her in person the day after the job interview. The timing for this delivery was perfect because Amanda got the job and used the gift card to purchase the uniform needed to begin work.
“With the help of the CMCA SMHR and FreshStart my transition back into the community has gone smoothly,” said Amanda. “Because of SMHR I feel like being able to take the classes has helped me feel supported and has taught me it’s ok for things to take time.”
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