The state of Oklahoma incarcerates more women per capita than any other state. In a criminal justice system in desperate need of reform, poverty, domestic abuse, and lack of social and mental health services lead many women to prison. For many, a prison sentence is the final nail in the coffin of their potential to lead a productive life–a blow from which they will never recover, even after their release. One non-profit wants to change that.
R.I.S.E. (Re-entry Investment/Student Education) Program Inc. is currently working to establish a cosmetology education program at Mabel Basset Correctional Center in McLoud, Oklahoma, with plans to eventually implement the program at two additional women’s facilities. The beauty college will be the first of its kind in the state, and will offer offenders the chance to improve their lives upon release by learning a vocation. Each year, twenty participants will receive vocational education, preparation for state licensure testing, mentoring, job placement assistance, transitional housing, and transportation assistance, in addition to professional clothing and ongoing recovery support.
“This educational opportunity will change twenty qualified women’s lives and their children’s lives. These ladies will have the opportunity to stand on their own once they are released and will be changed women, moms, and tax-paying citizens. This will help resolve the ever-growing recidivism rate by giving them the tools to live life successfully, and eliminating the hopeless thoughts of reoffending,” says Christie Luther, head of R.I.S.E.. “For some, this will be the only time they have accomplished anything for themselves. How amazing it is to witness lives being transformed.”
Endorsed by both the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and the Oklahoma State Board of Cosmetology and Barbering, the program has licensed master instructors and other qualified volunteers standing by, and they have an unused building on the correctional facility grounds. What they don’t have is funding. It’s going to take extensive renovations to transform what was once a storage building into the beauty college Luther envisions.
A Gofundme account has been established with an initial goal of $10,000, and as of this writing, they have a long way to go.
Cosmetology, through its practice and as a career, has the power to impact lives. I am passionate about helping beauty professionals improve their businesses so they can live their dreams, and I believe that when women band together, we can accomplish great things. In that spirit, I will be donating half of all proceeds from my book during the month of March to this very worthy cause. If you’ve thought about purchasing the book, or if you’d like to buy an artfully designed paperback as a gift for a beauty professional, now is your chance to get the book and help a great cause!
To learn more about my book, click here.
To purchase the book on Amazon, click here.
To donate directly to R.I.S.E. Program’s cosmetology program initiative, click here.
R.I.S.E. thanks you, I thank you, and I know the women whose lives will be changed by this program thank you for your support.