Resolana has touched the lives of hundreds of women. Our program participants include north Texas women of diverse ethnicity (39% African American, 40% Anglo, 15% Hispanic and 3% Native American) with ages ranging from 18 to 56.
The women we serve are a truly diverse group who dispel any easy stereotypes about criminals. Participants have included a grandmother who grew up in Highland Park, a woman who has lived on the street since being sold for drugs at age 9, and a highly paid professional with an MBA degree.
Resolana is excited to observe a ripple effect inside the jail as our clients share new skills (from yoga poses to boundary setting), class materials and resource lists with their fellow inmates. In a recent follow-up interview, one participant commented with a smile that she wished that we could have seen the expressions on the correctional officers’ faces when, after an invigorating dance workshop, an entire cell block began doing the Macarena together!
Resolana relies on extensive client self-report measures to evaluate the impact of the Resolana program. Measures of participant satisfaction are consistently high, with 99% of a large 18 month sample of Likert scale responses at Dallas County Jail rating classes at the highest possible level. Evaluative measures reflect consistent gains in client knowledge and coping skills as well as improvement in depression and anxiety levels.
With the move into its dedicated program tank, Resolana has implemented a pre/post test created with the technical assistance of doctoral students at the Institute for Urban Policy Research at UTDallas. Qualitative studies focused on the efficacy of our program and including interviews of former participants are currently being conducted by a doctoral student from Texas A&M and a faculty member at UNT.
But actually the outcome we seek represents a longer journey. It is a gradual and deepening process rather than a sudden conversion; it involves moments of insight and times of relapse. It involves mustering the courage and tenacity to try again in the face of personal fears, deeply ingrained negative patterns, marginalization and stigma. It involves nurturing children in ways that won’t repeat the past. It involves building a network of support well beyond the scope of Resolana.
Here are a few reports from women who are successfully making that longer journey:
Amy came to Resolana classes at Dallas County Jail for almost a year. Alcohol, bad relationships and, eventually, cocaine use marked the downward spiral that had led Amy to previous incarcerations. As Amy participated in classes, she transformed from a depressed, withdrawn woman to a highly respected peer leader who inspired her classmates and shared what she learned in class with her cell block. Her family later told us that they had changed their weekly visitation day to ensure that Amy could attend Resolana, because they saw the classes were so important and beneficial to her.
Amy credits Resolana with giving her the self confidence to take El Centro’s computer courses and since her release, she has worked to complete a computer certification. She is clean and sober, recently remarried and works with her new husband in his ministry. Amy also serves on Resolana’s Fundraising committee.
When Mandy talks about breaking the cycle of incarceration, herwords have instant credibility. In 2007, she participated in Resolana classes at the reentry level. Now she takes time from her busy life as a working mom to serve as a role model for Resolana participants at Dallas County Jail.
Mandy recruited and organized the 12 step team that brings AA meetings to our Resolana classroom. She also helps out with AA meetings at Dawson State Jail. Our participants remark on how caring this young woman is and how inspiring it is to talk to someone who’s been through the struggle and successfully turned their life around.
Pam lived in an abusive marriage for many years. But she had remarried, was General Manager of a hotel and had what she thought was a “perfect life” when her second husband introduced her to drugs. Her life was quickly overtaken by addiction.
Pam was in our classes at Dawson State Jail and now says going to jail was the best thing that could have happened to her, as it allowed her to refocus her life. At release she was able to secure employment back in the hotel industry. (Her boss had been in a recovery program for two years and was willing to give her an opportunity.) Clean and sober for over two years now, Pam now is again working in a General Manager’s position at a local hotel.
She volunteers with our program at Dallas County Jail whenever her schedule allows.
Janet served an 18 month sentence for a drug offense; it wasn’t her first time in prison. Like many incarcerated women, Janet was trapped in a life of drug abuse and petty crime.
But Janet participated in the Resolana classes for HOPE Literacy and she recently completed a 9 month program at Exodus, a reentry facility for women and their children, which she learned about in our Short Timing class.
Today Janet is drug free. She is caring for two adopted children, has full time employment and an apartment of her own…
Janet continues to express her gratitude to Resolana and.plans to participate in our current reentry class. She writes, “I loved the classes. I pray that you will keep on doing this for the rest of the ladies at Dawson, keep up the good work.”
Carla underwent a visible transformation in our class. Her closed posture and demeanor was left behind; she stood tall and smiling. At the final class she handed us a note which said: “You all have touched my heart so much! We love you so dearly. We all needed you and [the class]. If I wasn’t going home, I would really be sad [the class] was over. . . . Thank you.”
Writing nine months after her release, Carla reported, “I am still clean and plan to stay that way. I love y’all and thank you so much. I think about you a lot.”
Dana left school in 5th grade for a life of drugs.
Dana took every class we offered and started her own NA group in her pod. After her release she wrote, “Let me tell you how wonderful my life has changed. . . . I want to thank y’all for all your help. It sure did help me and I think of you all the time. Let me know about the next [reunion] because I want to see the most wonderful ladies in my life.”
This spring Dana married a man she met in a 12 step program and they continue in recovery; she writes us that she uses warm up games she learned in Resolana classes with their children.
Resolana – PO Box #225175 – Dallas, Texas 75222 – USA. Email: email@example.com