Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Reentry for Women

This appears to be a transformative program, Magdalene/Thistle Farms, using religion, social enterprise and entrepreneurship, to help women.

An excerpt from their website.

"Welcome to Magdalene/Thistle Farms. We are glad you've come to visit.

“Founded by in 1997 by Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest on Vanderbilt's campus, Magdalene is a residential program for women who have survived lives of violence, prostitution and addiction. Thistle Farms is our social enterprise.

“A few distinctives of the Magdalene program:

* For two years, we offer housing, food, medical and dental needs, therapy, education and job training, all without charge or taking any government funding.

* Our six homes function without 24-hour live-in staff, relying on residents to create a supportive, community, maintain recovery, and share household tasks.

* Women come to Magdalene from prison, the streets and from across the Southeast and the country.

* Women in Magdalene/Thistle Farms range in age from 20-50, were sexually abused between the ages of 7-11, started using alcohol or drugs by 13, have been arrested on average a 100 times, and have spent about 12 years on the street prostituting.

* Seventy percent of the women who join Magdalene are clean and sober 2 1/2 years after beginning the program.

“We provides housing for 27 residents and graduates and outreach services to women still living on the streets. New residents are given a key, offered the resources needed to maintain recovery, heal from childhood wounds, get physically healthy and find employment. After four months women find work, return to school and/or enter Magdalene’s job training program at Thistle Farms, a social enterprise. Magdalene offers a matched savings program to help residents prepare for economic independence upon graduation. Women who remain in recovery two years post-graduation are eligible for a new home buying program administered by two local congregations and Magdalene.

“Magdalene’s programs are grounded in 24 spiritual principles about living gracefully in community with each other. Residents, graduates, staff and volunteers share daily tasks, offer hospitality, build on each other’s strengths, and provide compassionate, disciplined support.

“Magdalene was founded not only to help a subculture of women, but also to help change the culture itself. We stand in solidarity with women who are recovering from abuse, addiction, and life on the streets, and who have paid dearly for a culture that still buys and sells women.”