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Friends of Guest House – Inside Scoop

(Dec. 5, 2016) Guest House in Alexandria, VA, was founded in 1974 to assist formerly incarcerated women with their transition back into the community. Executive Director Kari Galloway joins host Catherine Read in explaining the services provided to the residents of Guest House and their remarkable success in supporting over 3,000 women in the last 42 years. Joining them in the first segment is former resident Terry Garrett who now speaks to local groups on behalf of this non-profit. In raising awareness of this program, they hope to eventually expand their services to better serve the increasing numbers of women being incarcerated and released here in Northern Virginia.

Jessica Rodgers, the Residential Case Manager for Guest House, and a current resident of two months, Monica, join Catherine in the second segment to talk about the benefits of the three month residential program. There are numerous ways in which these women are supported in the first 90 days after their release, including how they support each other. There are three core programs: the one-year Residential-to-Aftercare continuum and the non-residential Outreach Program. Less than 10% of the women who come through Guest House return to jail or prison. Without such support, nearly 70% of previously incarcerated women will return to jail or prison.

Mariel Branagan, Volunteer Program Coordinator, and Noelle Moore, a volunteer with Guest House, discuss about how important it is for these women to be supported in ways both great and small. Many volunteers share their time, talent and skills in helping these women reconnect to their communities and to their families. Many are mothers, and helping them to reconnect with their children has benefitted more than 4,000 children of previously incarcerated women over the years. Those interested in volunteering can reach Mariel at [email protected]

In Northern Virginia, Guest House is the only group providing reentry support that is both comprehensive (housing, jobs, healthcare and family/community connection) and tailored to women’s unique needs. They continue to seek additional support from agencies, organizations and donors to help expand the services they can provide. Individuals can also support these women through a Target Registry set up to help supply them with basic necessities like toiletries.

Most of all these women need JOBS. Finding companies willing to give them employment opportunities is especially key to their successful reentry into our community and Guest House welcomes all suggestions in this regard.

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