Tag Archives: reentry

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.

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!”


Newsletter – March 2018

CCT News

We hope you’ll join us at our first ever “Friend-Raiser” March 22nd

Join us March 22nd from 5-7pm for an upscale casual “Friend-Raiser” at Advent Coworking Space and enjoy appetizers, beer and wine, and great company while helping CCT.

The purpose of this friend-raiser is to garner community support and raise awareness about the needs of people reentering the Charlotte community from jail or prison, and the needs of Charlotte children experiencing parental incarceration.

This evening will feature a special guest performance by Playing For Others teens of their spoken word piece, “Build People, Not Prisons” and the premier of CCT’s newest video, developed by Basic Cable. You’ll also enjoy live music, appetizers from Ink N Ivy, beer and wine.

Tickets are $25.Tickets include admission, appetizers, desserts, and drinks. We encourage you not only to attend, but bring a friend or two that you can introduce to CCT.

All proceeds from the event will benefit CCT’s three core programs serving Charlotteans impacted by incarceration.

Join us to mingle, learn, and build people, not prisons.

MARCH 22, 2018 @ 5:00PM — 7:00PM

Purchase your tickets here.
This Event Is Proudly Sponsored By:

Carolina Industrial Trucks

Freedom Mobility Center

SUM Bucha

CCT Honored with Song and Video at HeARTbeat

Last week, Playing For Others put on their largest performance of the year at McGlohon Theater in Sprit Square and honored CCT in the process. Playing for others is an arts-based organization that works with youth in Charlotte. Each year they choose 10 nonprofits to honor with art and performance pieces during the HeARTbeat event. This year, CCT was one of the 10 nonprofit honorees. A video was created and a song was written and performed in our honor and closed out the show. We are extremely touched by the efforts the teens put into our pieces and the tremendous reaction from the audience! We were able to bring about 30 clients and staff including some of our Families Doing Time youth who may one day participate in Playing for Others themselves! It was a wonderful experience.

A New Partnership with No Grease Barbershop

We are excited to announce a new partnership formed with No Grease Barbershop. No Grease will now offer free haircuts to our clients to help prepare them for job interviews! Clients will be given special vouchers for the free cuts and No Grease’s two Charlotte-area barber schools. Any clients in need of a free haircut may contact LifeWorks! for vouchers and instructions!

VolunBEERing at NoDa Brewing

Taste while you volunteer! CCT and other nonprofits will be at NoDa Brewing on Saturday, April 21st from 12pm-3pm for a special National Volunteer Week event. Come on out and taste a variety of brews while lending a hand at “table-top” volunteer projects! Fun for kids, friends and families! Learn more and check out other upcoming CCT events including “You Drink, NoDa Brewing Donates” and Spring Fling on our Events Calendar.


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 February.
Audra Atkinson
Ted Cabot
Myra Clark
Betty Hong
Janine Lafferty
Dumont and Shirley Linn
Thomas and Cynthia Marshall
Matthew Martell
Wendy Mills
Marie Morrison
Deborah Nemecek
Pamela Nemecek
Mary Stokes
Arlington Baptist Church
Carolina Industrial Trucks
Charlotte Woman’s Club
Christ Church Charlotte ECW
Mecklenburg County ABC Board
Mercedes-Benz of South Charlotte
St. Gabriel Catholic Church
Sum Bucha LLC
United Way of the Central Carolinas
Valley of the Sun United Way
Veeva Systems
Warehouse 242

Opportunities to Give

The AmazonSmile triple donation promotion starts today!

If you’re an Amazon Prime member you can easily set up your account to donate a portion of your purchases to CCT. 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.


3x your impact! Amazon is tripling the donation rate on your first smile.amazon.com purchase – NOW through March 31! Go to smile.amazon.com/ch/51-0185383 and Amazon donates to Center for Community Transitions!

Volunteer Opportunities

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

If interested contact Erik Ortega at eortega@centerforcommunitytransitions.org

Mock Interviews: Every Other Monday@ 10:45 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.



 Build People, Not Prisons

March 22 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

The purpose of this friend-raiser is to garner community support and raise awareness about the needs of people reentering the Charlotte community from jail or prison, and the needs of Charlotte children experiencing parental incarceration. This evening will feature a special guest performance by Playing For Others teens of their spoken word piece, “Build People, Not Prisons” and the premier of CCT’s newest video, developed by Basic Cable. You’ll also enjoy live music, appetizers from Ink N Ivy, beer and wine. Early bird tickets may be…

Find out more »

VolunBEERing at NoDa Brewing

April 21 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
NoDa Brewing, 2921 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28206 United States + Google Map

SHARE Charlotte is concluding DO GOOD Week (National Volunteer Week) with a volunteering event at NoDa Brewing, and CCT is one of the participating nonprofits! The event will be Saturday, April 21 from 12-3pm. Stop by and enjoy some sips from one of Charlotte’s best breweries while shuffling around to the various nonprofit booths, including CCT, for hands-on, table top activities. Fun for kids, friends and families! More information with a link to the event is coming soon. Stay tuned…

Find out more »

You Drink, NoDa Brewing Donates

April 23 @ 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm
NoDa Brewing, 2921 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28206 United States + Google Map

April is National Second Chance Month! Second Chance Month is a time to recognize the reality people released from jails and prisons face when they try to reenter our communities: difficulty finding housing, work, transportation, and more. This April we have a fun way you can help! Come on out to NoDa Brewing on April 23rd from 4pm-9pm and order a draft beer. For every draft beer sold, NoDa Brewing will donate $1 to CCT! CCT is a nonprofit in…

Find out more »


May 10 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Save the Date and join us for our 6th annual volunteer appreciation event – Spring Fling 2018! Check back for more details!

Find out more »


HeARTbeat Event

This year CCT is SO EXCITED to be one of 10 nonprofit honorees at the annual Playing for Others HeARTbeat event!

Join us for a one-of-a-kind event honoring 10 local nonprofits through music, dance and digital art. Playing for Others teens create and perform original works of art in honor of these incredible organizations and their service to the Charlotte community.

McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square – 345 N College St. map it

2017-2018 Non-Profit Honorees:
Camp Dogwood
Center for Community Transitions!!!!!
Code for Charlotte
Girls Pursuing Science
Hopeway Foundation
Right Moves for Youth
Sustain Charlotte
Teal Divas
The Third Place
Women Executives for Community Service (WINGS program)

Before the show, head over to Brixx Pizza uptown. Print and bring in the Brixx Buxx Flyer – PFO from our website (coming soon) and Brixx will donate $3 to PFO for every entree purchased and $1 for every kids pizza purchased. Brixx also validates parking!

Read more and purchase your tickets here: https://playingforothers.org/event/heartbeat-event/


CCT Client Profiled in Charlotte Five!

Photo by: Katie Toussaint

Online news and culture publication, Charlotte Five, did a profile of LifeWorks! client, Tyrone Miller. In the piece, Tyrone shares his outlook on life after prison and his journey to try to find employment.

Twenty-seven-year-old Tyrone Miller was released from prison just over a month ago. He spent nearly eight years behind bars in a North Carolina correctional facility for assault with a deadly weapon.

He shares this information with no hesitation as he leans back, relaxed, in a desk chair at The Center for Community Transitions (CCT) at the Goodwill Opportunity Campus off of Wilkinson Boulevard. CCT offers Lifeworks! programs to address the personal and professional needs of those with criminal records.

Miller offers an easy, bright smile. His black hair is kept in neat cornrows, almond-colored glasses round out his face and two sparkling studs flash on his ears. He wears a black button-down, charcoal slacks and black shoes.

It’s the perfect interview look.

<Read the full article here>

CCT Honored by Playing for Others

CCT is one of ten nonprofits being honored by the Playing for Others (PFO) class of ’17-18 this year. PFO is an organization in Charlotte that provides a space for teens to explore and answer the questions, “Who Am I?” and “How will I give of that?” through programming in Personal Development, Service, and the Arts. Each year they choose ten local nonprofits for their teen artists to honor through spoken-word, video, music, dance, and more. In the fall, the teens performed their spoken word pieces, and the piece done for CCT, “Build People, Not Prisons”, brought the house down! On March 2nd, PFO will hold a huge culminating event called HeART Beat at McGlohan Theater.

Today we met with PFO and the other nonprofit honorees to learn more about the event, and find out what sort of piece the teens will be doing in our honor. We were excited to learn that CCT will be honored with some type of MUSICAL piece!!! We hope you will join us on March 2nd for this truly exciting event. Some of our staff attended last year and the performances were professional level productions and extremely touching.

We’re also excited that some of the PFO teens will be making a special appearance at our first ever “Build People, Not Prisons Friend-Raiser” on March 22nd, where they will do an encore performance of their spoken-word piece from the fall. We hope to see you all there as well!

#DoGoodWeek in Charlotte and CCT

It’s #DoGoodWeek in Charlotte – a week of honoring AND recruiting volunteers! CCT Executive Director, Myra Clark, and CCT Volunteer, Joanna Patcha, appeared on FOX 46’s “Good Day” show to talk about our work and some volunteer opportunities.

Our current volunteer opportunities are listed on our ShareCharlotte Page. 

Table displays for The Second Chance Alliance

April is Second Chance Month

All month CCT has been celebrating Second Chance Month as an informal month declared by a peer organization, Prison Fellowship, but today, it became official. The U.S. Senate Declared April Second Chance Month nationwide.

It’s fitting then that we also visited our state legislators today as part of a coalition of reentry organizations across NC called the Second Chance Alliance. On behalf of our clients, we lobbied for several pieces of legislation that make sense for reentry and are smart on crime. Download the attached to see a full list of legislation we’re supporting, and follow us on Facebook or Twitter for legislative updates.

SCA, action request, 2017 (1)

Two women water a newly made garden bed.

New Garden at the Center for Women

Last week volunteer extraordinaire, Pam Eavenson, assisted residents of the Center for Women with starting a vegetable and herb garden. The garden is on the grounds of our main facility and we look forward to watching it grow alongside our residents. Make sure you check it out next time you visit.

NC Aims to Reduce Use of Solitary Confinement

NC has reduced its use of solitary confinement by more than 50% since 2012 but still has a long way to go according to a recently released Vera Institute report. Currently, incarcerated individuals may find themselves in solitary confinement (also known as segregation units) for minor infractions such as swearing. At some state facilities the average time spent in solitary is nearly five years. The Vera Institute also found racial disparities in the use of solitary. The state faces major staff shortages making it difficult to provide alternatives to segregation. The report also pointed out that many people are being released from years in solitary confinement directly back into the community, making their transition all the more difficult. The institute recommends moving people out of solitary Confinement and into reentry units. CCT is glad the state leadership is committed to continuing to take steps to reduce the use of solitary confinment and to put more resources toward reentry housing units. To learn more, read the article in the Charlotte Observer.