Author Archives: Myra Clark

WEF Gives Incarcerated Women the Gift of Education

Education is a key component to successful reentry. A 2013 study found that education while incarcerated lowers recidivism by an average of 43% alone. More important that the statistics though, are the real stories of individuals who turn their lives around with the help of education. That’s why at CCT we make sure all of the incarcerated women at our Center for Women have the opportunity to pursue a college education should they choose.

On September 30, CCT held our annual fundraiser for our Women’s Education Fund. The fund covers tuition, books and other expenses for our Center for Women residents to attend college courses. Our fund covers the first in-person class and all online classes the women take while in residence. If the resident successfully completes the first course, our partner, the Sunshine Lady Foundation, covers all other in-person courses and expenses after that. Fund recipients have gone on to earn their Bachelor’s and even Master’s degrees. On of our most recent graduates, Ludenia Archie, who obtained her Bachelor’s in Human Services in May, spoke at this year’s event:

We are happy to report that this year our Women’s Education Tea was attended by more than 30 guests and we raised more than $1600 at the tea alone, enough to cover the first class at CPCC for 5 women. We were also given a $4000 grant by the Ross Foundation which allows us to cover expenses and online courses and tuition at more expensive colleges. THANK YOU to each and everyone of you who gave, you’ve made a real difference.

Ludenia Archie shows off her degree in her cap and gown back in May.

Newsletter – September, 2018

CCT News

CCT’s Center for Women Celebrates 30 YearsEvelyn Hill, former resident, speaks about her time at CCT and the changes she's made in her life

On September 6th, The Center for Community Transitions (CCT)’s Center for Women celebrated its 30th anniversary of operation and was joined by elected officials and other dignitaries for cake and powerful testimonies from employers and former residents.

KEEP READING


You Helped Children with Incarcerated Parents go Back to School In Style!

CCT held it’s annual Back In Style event on Thursday, August 23rd. The annual back to school event helps children with incarcerated parents prepare for the new school year by providing school supplies, school uniforms, and free haircuts and hair styles.

Shop Amazon and Give Back to CCT

When you shop with Amazon, you can help support CCT at the same time. And, better yet—it won’t cost you a thing! AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to CCT.   Start supporting CCT today!

At CCT we rely on generous donors like you to provide the resources we need. Thank you to everyone who donated in the month of August.

Foundations/Corporations
Anonymous Family Foundation
Carolina Industrial Trucks
James L. Ross Scholarship Fund
Mecklenburg  ABC Board
Sally Jordan Family Fund
United Way of Central Carolinas
Wells Fargo Government and Community
Relations

Faith Community
Arlington Baptist Church
Charlotte Friends Meeting
Covenant Presbyterian Church
Elevation Church
St. Luke’s Lutheran Church

Individuals
Anonymous
Robert F. Colwell
Betty Hong
Janine Lafferty
Fred Lowrance
Beth Wells


Volunteer Opportunities

For a full list of ongoing volunteer opportunities visit our Volunteer Page.
Event Volunteering

If interested contact Adair Hill at communications@centerforcommunitytransitions.org

Event Photographer: Sunday, September 30, 2018 – 2:45pm – Do you have a gift for photography? Are you looking to build your photography portfolio? We are seeking a volunteer to come take photographs at our Women’s Education Tea on September 30th. The event is to raise funds for our Women’s Education Fund which provides financial assistance to incarcerated women pursuing higher education.


Upcoming Events

Benefit Tea for the Center for Women Education Fund

September 30 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
The Center for Women – 5825 Old Concord Rd. Charlotte, NC
Free – But be prepared to make a donation!
Please RSVP to communications@centerforcommunitytransitions.org or 704-389-0319

Each year, some incarcerated women living at the Center for Women choose to advance their education and CCT strives to cover the costs of classes, books, and materials. Join us for tea and sweets and hear from Center for Women alumnae about their educational experiences.

Find out more »


Employer Appreciation Breakfast

January 29, 2019 @ 7:30 am
Sandwich Sam, 1601 South Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28203
Free

Employment is one of the most important elements in successful reentry, and our clients could not find gainful employment without employers who are aware of the benefits of hiring people with criminal records and willing to do so. With this event, we say “thank you” to those employers, and welcome new employers interested in learning about hiring people with criminal records.

Find out more »

 

CCT’s Center for Women Celebrates 30 Years

On September 6th, The Center for Community Transitions (CCT)’s Center for Women celebrated its 30th anniversary of operation and was joined by elected officials and other dignitaries for cake and powerful testimonies from employers and former residents.

The Center for Women is a thirty bed residential re-entry facility for women who are still
incarcerated and serving out the final years of their prison sentences. The center’s mission is to
assist women in successfully transitioning from prison back into the community.

Evelyn Hill, former resident, speaks about her time at CCT and the changes she’s made in her life.

Opening in late 1987 as a contract work release program, the Center for Women was created to
help women successfully transition from prison to their family and community while upholding
the standards of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. The center is unique in North
Carolina and one of only a handful of such facilities in the country. In its thirty years of operation, the facility has consistently boasted recidivism rates far below state average and has served more than 2000 women.

Nationwide, as many as 2/3rds of prisoners are rearrested within 3 years of their release. At
CCT we believe we can change that by providing people with criminal records the tools and
assistance they need to successfully transition back into our community. Our Center for Women
residents have access to all of CCT’s programming including our employment readiness
program, trauma and substance use treatment program, family programs, community volunteer sponsorship and more. They are required to find employment, and are provided financial assistance if they choose to pursue higher education. All of this results in recidivism rates consistently below 13% among our former residents (compared to 40% statewide).
Strong re-entry programs like ours are critical for lowering recidivism rates and decreasing the
number of people incarcerated in North Carolina, which helps improve public safety overall.

We are so proud that this program has existed now for 30 years. It could not have done so without the support of the Charlotte Community, state legislators, and our amazing volunteers.

 

Back in Style 2018 a Success!

CCT held it’s annual Back In Style event on Thursday, August 23rd. The annual back to school event helps children with incarcerated parents prepare for the new school year by providing school supplies, school uniforms, and free haircuts and hair styles.

This year we provided 225 children with bookbags and school supples, completed 103 free hair cuts/styles, and served 264 free dinners with the help of 29 volunteers.

CCT estimates that 5,000 children in Mecklenburg County have a parent who is currently incarcerated, and 10,000 more have experienced parental incarceration at some point. Parental incarceration increases the risk of children living in poverty, and we see this with our clients every day. For many, back to school shopping is major financial strain, which is why we started Back In Style 7 years ago.

Thank you to the many many individuals, churches, and groups who donated items, our amazing volunteer barbers and stylists, and all of the other volunteers who served, as well as our sponsors who provided food and drink.

Sponsors

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
Alight
Elevation Church
New Beginnings
New Waves of Joy
Junior League of Charlotte
Sonny’s BBQ
Maddio’s Pizza
CCT's Center for Women

A Message from A Summer Intern

One of our summer interns, Kate Capitano, wrote the following:

An official goodbye to one of the most special places in my life: the days were never easy and the love was tough but for that exact reason I can say this summer I finally felt what it means to make the conscious decision to give unconditional love. I’ve realized that compassion becomes so much easier when the human in us recognizes the human in someone else. This summer, I’ve learned how to brew a pot of coffee, why raspberries are hollow, and that you can fit way more Mountain Dews in a locker than you would think. I’ve also learned that to give love costs nothing and it doesn’t run out no matter how many people you let in. Thank you for teaching me that to find your place in the world, look for where the world’s hurt meets your passion and go from there.

Newsletter – July-August 2018

Help Send 300 Children with Incarcerated Parents Back to School In Style This Fall!

Each year CCT hosts a massive back to school event called “Back in Style” for our clients’ children. Most of our clients’ families are living at or below the poverty line, in large part due to the impact of incarceration on the family’s finances.

With school supplies costing an average of $250 per child, or families struggle to ensure their children are prepared for the new year.

At Back in Style, kids get the shool supplies they need, a free back to school haircut or hair style, AND a free meal. This event relies 100% on the generous donations of people like you.

Will you give today and help us make sure these children have what they need to start the school year off right?

CCT News

Alsco’s Lynne Hopkins shares why her company prefers to hire employees from CCT’s LifeWorks. The training and work ethic we instill in our clients leads to life-changing opportunities.

Elevation’s Love Week Prepares Clients For Interviews


For a week in July, members of Elevation Church treated CCT clients to dinners and one-on-one mock interviews. We are so thankful for our dedicated volunteers and community organizations who support our clients.

CCT Team Participates In Re-entry Simulation

We had a great turnout at the CJS Re-entry Simulation today. The frustrations and challenges our clients experience are real. During the simulation, CCT oard members and employees of the criminal justice system got a glimpse of what happens in our clients’ world. Some participants preferred ‘jail’ over trying to make it, others ‘stole’ and a few created a Black market. We are so proud of our clients who fight everyday to rebuild their lives despite systems designed to break them.

BBB Re-certifies CCT!

We are thrilled to announce that we received top marks from the BBB’s 20 standards for Charitable Accountability. Read the full report here.

 

Iris Thomas Releases from The Center for Women

“I can’t even explain it in words!” Iris exclaims as she starts her release interview with me. “Everything I’ve been hustling for my whole adult life has come to be in the last 6 months”. It is August 8th, 2018, and Iris Thomas who will be 69 years young next week, is leaving prison by way of CCT’s Center for Women. She’s been in and out of prison since she was 23 years old; this last time since 2011. She says this time is different, this time she will not be going back. “I came in with a different mindset. I said to myself ‘I’m definitely not coming out the same way I go in’. I just purged myself of all of that.” <Read More>

 


At CCT we rely on generous donors like you to provide the resources we need. Thank you to everyone who donated in June and July.

Foundations
June
Bank of America
Howard Levine Foundation
Mecklenburg  ABC Board
The Leon Levine Foundation
United Way of Central Carolinas
July
United Way of Central Carolinas
Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation

Faith Community
June
Arlington Baptist Church
St. Luke’s Catholic Church
July
Arlington Baptist Church
St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
Myers Park Baptist Church

Individuals
June
Mike and Leslie McNamara
Blaine and Anne Sanders
Jonathan R. Eide
Angela Forde
Smoky and Margaret Bissell
Anonymous
Janine Lafferty
Alexandra Joachim Scoggin
Richard Scott Fox

July
Cindy Gibson
Sallie Fitton
Janine Lafferty
Michael Alexander
Jeanne Rorie Ross
Kenneth and Jane Schorr
Matthew Martell
Deborah R. Bell

In Kind support
June
Mike Newell
Rountree Plantation
Beth Bennett-Hill
Katina Wallace

 

Volunteer Opportunities

For a full list of volunteer opportunities visit our Volunteer Page.

LifeWorks!

If interested contact Erik Ortega at eortega@centerforcommunitytransitions.org

Mock Interviews: Every Other Monday10:45 AM & Thursday 10:45 AM (Schedule may vary with holidays) – Assist staff with conducting mock job interviews with clients participating in our employment readiness classes. Questions and evaluation tool will be provided and individual feedback from the experience is welcomed.

 

Events

Benefit Tea for the Center for Women Education Fund

September 30 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
The Center for Women – 5825 Old Concord Rd. Charlotte, NC
Free – But be prepared to make a donation!
Please RSVP to communications@centerforcommunitytransitions.org or 704-389-0319

Each year, some incarcerated women living at the Center for Women choose to advance their education and CCT strives to cover the costs of classes, books, and materials. Join us for tea and sweets and hear from Center for Women alumnae about their educational experiences.

Find out more »


Employer Appreciation Breakfast

January 29, 2019 @ 7:30 am
Location TBD
Charlotte, NC 28206 United States + Google Map
Free

Employment is one of the most important elements in successful reentry, and our clients could not find gainful employment without employers who are aware of the benefits of hiring people with criminal records and willing to do so. With this event, we say “thank you” to those employers, and welcome new employers interested in learning about hiring people with criminal records.

Find out more »

Iris Thomas’ Release Story

“I can’t even explain it in words!” Iris exclaims as she starts her release interview with me. “Everything I’ve been hustling for my whole adult life has come to be in the last 6 months”. It is August 8th, 2018, and Iris Thomas who will be 69 years young next week, is leaving prison by way of CCT’s Center for Women. She’s been in and out of prison since she was 23 years old; this last time since 2011. She says this time is different, this time she will not be going back. “I came in with a different mindset. I said to myself ‘I’m definitely not coming out the same way I go in’. I just purged myself of all of that.”

In 2011 as she awaited her sentencing hearing, Iris says she thought about running. Now in her 60s, she didn’t know if she could survive prison again. But she says her son encouraged her to go in, do her time, and come back out clean; so she showed up in court and went back behind bars.

Iris’ revolving door in and out of the prison system began with a charge she picked up while in a domestic violence situation. Addiction fueled her poor decisions from then on, and all told she served 5 different prison sentences over the years. This time, Iris was transferred to CCT’s Center for Women for the last part of her sentence, and she says that her time here, along with a different mindset, has made all the difference.

When she first arrived at CCT, Iris completed our LifeWorks! Program, a job readiness and life skills program we offer free of charge to anyone with a criminal record. “LifeWorks! Was very much needed and helped me get through it. I was very nervous to be job searching in my 60s but I did it”. Iris found a job as a housekeeper. “It required some humbling at first. I have a bachelor’s degree in sociology, but I needed to do it”. Iris quickly became extremely valued at work; so valued that when she announced she’d be moving away from the Charlotte area after her release, her work happily gave her a transfer to her new location, threw her a going away party, and named their kitchen after her.

Iris says that a big part of her success this time around was learning new coping skills. Not only did she learn from the staff at the Center for Women and LifeWorks!, but she also participated in CCT’s substance abuse and trauma program, Seeking Safety, funded by the ABC Board of Mecklenburg County. Iris says she’s experienced a lot of trauma, and being in Seeking Safety gave her a space to process it. “Seeking Safety helped me open up and talk about it, which let me… I like the word purge… let me purge and cleanse myself and get through it. I always stayed after group to talk to Cathy… I especially needed more coping skills for conflict management, and she really helped me with that too”.

Today as Iris is waiting for her family to come pick her up from our facility, she’s beaming with joy. She repeatedly gives glory and honor to God, quoting scripture, making it apparent she’s a woman of strong faith. “Yes,” she says, “By the grace of God I came to this program and I am going home.” She tells me she’s going home to a rental property, family, her own car, and with some modest savings along with her job. “What does the future hold for you?” I ask, and she tells me she wants to eventually start her own catering business. “Why are you choosing to share your story publicly?” I ask, curious, and she says simply, “I want people to look at me and see this program works.” She then goes on to tell me that she hopes to come back to visit CCT around the holidays and cook a meal for the women who are still incarcerated here. “If there’s one thing I want the ladies to know it’s don’t feel hopeless. I hope they keep an open mind. Keep your ears open, and be willing to submit and take people’s advice. It took me a long time to learn to do that!”

 

CCT Program Reports Released

Each year, CCT compiles an Annual Report to provide an overview of our finances and accomplishments to our stakeholders. In Fiscal Year 2017, CCT released more detailed individual program reports. You can read them below.

  

United Way, Awards And New Faces (June 2018)

May was crazy! First there was the great turnout for Spring Fling 2018, and the Women’s Impact Fund awarded Families Doing Time the Human Services Grant.  On June 7, the United Way Board voted to support CCT with $172,250 funding for FY19.  These are important investments in our organization, and will help us improve the economic mobility opportunities of our clients and families. 

Former Resident Graduates

Congratulations to former resident Ludenia!!! She graduated from Gardner Webb with a bachelor’s degree in May. Ludenia worked on the degree while she was with us, and had funding from the CCT Education Fund and the Sunshine Ladies Foundation.

 

 

 

 

 

We Love The Boy Scouts

Thank you BSA Troop 99, Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian Church for helping us assemble dressers. Volunteers are the backbone of our organization.

Junior League Honors Center for Community Transitions

We are so thankful for the Junior League of Charlotte for their partnership and commitment to our clients. We are honored to be Community Partner of the Year.

Meet Our Interns 

Corrina Bost (L) 
I am in my fourth year at Appalachian State University. After this summer, I’ll have my Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a minor in Anthropology.

I am an aunt to three nephews and a sister to two brothers, three sisters, two brothers-in-law, and a sister-in-law. I enjoy cooking, reading, running, and watching any episode of ‘The Office’ or ‘The Walking Dead.’

My favorite movie is ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.’ I enjoy doing hair, nails, and most things cosmetology-related!

Kate Jennings (R)

I just finished my first year at UNC-Chapel Hill studying Global Health with a concentration in Latin American studies. I am pre-med and hope to one day combine public heath and medicine.
I enjoy running, reading, politics, and writing. I found the internship through Covenant Church’s People in Mission program and will be surrounded this summer by them, my mom, dad, stepmom, and brother.
I look forward to meeting 30 new faces and seeing where this summer leads!


At CCT we rely on generous donors like you to provide the resources we need. Thank you to everyone who donated this Spring.

Anonymous

Deborah R. Bell

Myra Clark

Linda H. Coble

Ebony H. Covington

David L. Drum

Jeffrey S. Eason

Mary Folley

Ronisha H. Harris

Atakaya H. Johnson

Yvonne Jones

Wendy W. Kauffman

Thomas P. Long

Matthew Martell

James Quage

Marcus Reddrick

Arturowe P. Robinson

Harriett Steele-Campbell

Crystal Turner

Lauretta S. Wilson

James E. Wright

Organizations

Arlington Baptist Church

Charlotte Friends Meeting

Mecklenburg County ABC Board

NODA Brewing Company

Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian Church

Presbyterian Women of First Presbyterian Church

United Way of Central Carolinas

Women’s Impact Fund

Many thanks to everyone who tagged us in Amazon Smile and for the volunteer team from Ekos Brewmaster did yard work at the Center for Women.



Opportunities to Give

Our Back In Style event is August 23rd and we want to make sure our children prepared. Please work with members of your community and faith-based organizations to collect school supplies for children we serve.  We need backpacks, spiral notebooks, composition and loose leaf notebooks, loose leaf paper, pencils, glue sticks, pencil boxes or zipper bags.

Contact Charis Blackmon for more details. cblackmon@centerforcommuitytransitions.org