Why I Mentor - Jo's Story

We celebrate National Mentoring Month in January with words from our mentors:


MentorJoSince I retired, I've been searching for new territory - a place where I can contribute and also learn something completely new. Oh my, the Denver Women's Correctional Facility is certainly new territory for me!

As a society, we seem to accept that a certain number of us will be "throwaways." For lack of a clearer vision for their rehabilitation and support, we imprison people who have violated our social norms. Nearly 1,000 of these individuals reside at Havana and I-70. We need to be honest; prison is about punishment. These are not women we invest in as a society. They are women we warehouse. Then eventually we cut them loose with no resources, no skills, and no money and expect them to find their own way -- or not.

Making Choices changes that. My first experience was mentoring a bright, engaging young woman with so many strikes against her that
I stopped counting. She never had a safety net. But she was talented and hopeful, excited, eager and motivated. The Making Choices curriculum allowed her to envision the woman she wanted to become and gave her skills to set goals and reach them. This was all new territory for her. It was my great joy to coach her and to watch her discover her strengths and her potential. With the help of Making Choices, she began to weave her own safety net. We were both transformed by the process.



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