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May 30, 2010

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May 30, 2010

Going into the jail each week is often an anxious experience, but coming out, having shared of ourselves and participated in the workshop in just the same way as the women we serve, it is immensely satisfying, and sometimes it is downright exhilirating. As women in our groups begin to share from their life experiences in the program's activities, we find that trust is built, people examine their lives, we learn from each other, we discover new ways of thinking about ourselves, we experience sisterhood--so many good things happen! At our most recent graduation from an 8-week workshop, one young woman declared that this was the first time she had ever graduated from ANYTHING. Previously I had some experience working with the incarcerated in a more free-form discussion mode. I find that the Step By Step workshops, which are highly structured and based on finding the strengths within ourselves, are incredibly powerful. They get right to the important things in life and get us all thinking about our life stories and where we want them to go. One difficulty is that Step By Step needs more volunteers willing to do this direct, hands-on work. If I am asked to do something extra, I feel I almost HAVE to say yes.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

women who are seeking a way to change their lives. I have seen women who are inspired to head in a new direction and others whose own ideas are supported by the self-awareness, growing inner strength, and reflection that we offer them.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

truly helping people. I find, also, that I have grown as an individual.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

sincere, dedicated, and really believe in what they are doing.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 30, 2010

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May 30, 2010

Step By Step offers a powerful program for incarcerated women. They have demonstrated the ability to consistently meet troubled women wherever they are in life's journey and help them to understand - and believe - that they have the power to create a better life for themselves and their families. They literally change lives!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

hearing testimony about the specific stories of individuals who now live a happy, healthy, responsible lifestyle thanks to the work of Step by Step.

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

sincere, compassionate, caring and filled with a passion for the work that they do.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

create Step By Step "franchises" in multiple other communities so that many more women who are now in jails and prisons could step away from the past that dragged them down and, instead, step into new lives.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 27, 2010

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May 27, 2010

My experience with Step by Step of Rochester has revealed the extreme dedication of the founders and staff of the organization. This experience is probably best summed up through a chance encounter I had with a woman that went through the Step by Step programming while incarcerated a few years ago. Since attending the programming classes to help instill confidence and skills necessary to reengage within our community, she now has a full-time job, bought her first home a year ago, and even volunteers her time. This is an amazing true life example that speaks volumes to what Step by Step of Rochester is doing not only to assist incarcerated women, but also the trickle-down benefits it provides our community.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing the dramatic improvement in quality of life for the women who benefit from Step by Step's programming.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 26, 2010

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May 26, 2010

Step by Step of Rochester dedicates itself wholeheartedly to improving the lives of women who have been touched by the criminal justice system. Their workshops in the county jail and state prison are meant to guide women through the difficult work of coming to terms with their lives and finding the beauty and strength in themselves. By using arts and crafts, writing exercises, and other activities, the workshops provide a valuable outlet for the women to reflect upon their actions, their identities, and the challenges ahead. The staff and volunteers convey deep respect for the women and make them the experts of their stories. SbS also does case management in the jails and helps connect women to community resources. Once out of jail and prison, SbS is a welcoming place for those women who wish to continue their journey. They offer facilitated group sessions, family outings, and retreats.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've observed workshops in Monroe Correctional Facility and Albion Prison and have seen the eagerness of the women to participate in the activities, share their stories, and discover their strengths.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The genuine love for the female prisoners and belief in their strengths. Also, the workshops are very well researched and written and the training of the volunteer facilitators is quite rigorous.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Extremely dedicated, kind, and passionate people who truly believe in the necessity of the work they do and the potential in each female prisoner to realize her dreams.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Institute a rigorous evaluation system, publish its curriculum, spread its method to other communities, and hire more staff to do the work!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 26, 2010

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May 26, 2010

Step by Step has touched so many ex-offenders and women at risk of imprisonment. As a result of the workshops and support received from Step by Step, these women return to the workplace, return to school and return to a positive sense of self. Step by Step has reduced the recidivism rate among participants. They work on a shoestring to help women piece their lives back together. It is a blessed community which deserves support.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've seen ex-offenders move on to productive lives. Many of those who have gone through the program also return to Step by Step as volunteers. At least one of the women helped supervise me as I volunteered at Step by Step.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Seeing the difference it makes in women's lives in Rochester.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Talented, tireless and generous.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

They would spread the good news and help more women who are coming out of prison, as well as helping to prevent women from landing in prison.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 25, 2010

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May 25, 2010

This group focuses on helping women. They have used our latest book "Serving Productive Time," as well as our other books "Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul" and "Serving Time, Serving Others."

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Feedback from some of the women who have been encouraged by our books that this group made available to them.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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