By Kimberly Paulk, Senior Connector at SHARECharlotte.com, a free, easy and local website that makes it easy to learn about and engage with our local nonprofits
“That last page turned is a perfect excuse to write a whole new book.”
― Toni Sorenson
It’s a tough conversation. How can we help highly motivated women – who just happen to be inmates – make better choices while they are incarcerated to prepare them for a transition to a new life? What will help them turn the last page and start a whole new book? Changed Choices has the answer. Really, it’s all about relationships, mentoring, and providing necessary tools.
Through a series of targeted programs that women begin while incarcerated and continue after release, Changed Choices changes lives. Fewer than 4% of their clients return to prison.
The programs provide the women with various types of mentoring during incarceration, including helping them maintain meaningful connections with their families. But even with dedication and determination, clients coming home from prison find it tough to get jobs. So Changed Choices developed Second Helping – a catering and food service business that employs women with a criminal record, giving them a path to self-sufficiency.
Changed Choices relies heavily on caring volunteers to achieve these outstanding results. There are many ways you can be a part of this success story. Here are just a few.
Grab dinner – It doesn’t get much easier than this. Cater your next gathering from Second Helping or order from the Carry Out shop on Central Avenue. For greater convenience, you can pre-order and pick up your meal at one of three Charlotte pickup locations.
Write Cards – All it takes is a pen and a stamp to make a huge difference. Write notes of encouragement to Changed Choices clients once a month. (Kids can help with this! Get details from Changed Choices.)
COOOL Mentor – Change the lives of young female offenders (ages 16-24) as a mentor in the Mecklenburg County jail.