We have had a seat on the IWP Community Advisory Board for over 20 years and it is there that we have heard the concerns of the staff. And in groups over the years we have heard the needs of the women.
We initiated a full campus ice cream social and band in 1998 because the women said the buildings were unbearably hot and summer long and discouraging. We brought the first dogs into the Indiana prison system in 1999 when Marcia quietly said that it would be so healing for the women in special needs to have an animal to touch. Young dogs in training came to our ice cream social, then weekly to our group, then into the counseling area. Now the women train companion dogs at the highest level for handicapped teens.
In 1995, GiGI told us six women had worn out night clothes so we did Christmas gifts for 14. One woman said it is so hard listening to the women cry themselves to sleep on Christmas eve, and another said that in nine years she had never received a gift or any contact from outside. We learned that was true for 150 out of 350 women. The next year we did gifts and a hot meal for 60 in the special needs cottages, and eventually for 600 women at the new campus.
Over many years we brought 249,000 pounds of Gleaners food into the prison in a station wagon at a cost of $29,000. We provided three meals for 400 for the children’s day camp, for graduation meals with visiting families, and to provide supplemental food not offered by the prison. They have reconstituted eggs and potatoes, no dairy, fresh fruit every 2 weeks.
For 12 years we have given clothing, linens, food, household items and personal care from our storage to women after leaving prison. We have done seven Clean Out Your Closet drives in various churches to provide cloth, sewing machines and craft items for the prison outreach workroom. The women make quilts for children in shelters, mosquito bed nets for malaria areas, sleeping bags for the homeless.
In 2009 we formed Bridge to Home with Dana Blank, retired superintendent of IWP on our board. Half of our board were formerly incarcerated women and they all called her Mom. She was strict but fair, always worked for what was best for them, and they honored her with their best.
We coordinated the donation of enough sheets, blankets and cases of new underwear to fill two moving trucks from Saint Vincent de Paul. When the Marten House closed, we hand filled a moving truck with comforters for the cold dorms.
Now we’re embarking on our biggest project yet - to provide a home and a community with robust programs for women as they begin their lives on the outside.
Meet the people making this work possible - our board members and community advisors.
Linda has been involved with women at the Indiana Women’s Prison for over 30 years. Through her initial Bible study groups, she developed lasting relationships and a commitment to helping these women with reentry.
Linda has a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from Marian University and was the Pastoral Associate at Holy Cross Indianapolis for three years. At St. Pius X for the past 40+ years, she’s been involved in youth ministry, mission trips to El Salvador and Guatemala, prison ministry, and the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
She was recognized twice as the Volunteer of the Year at the Indiana Women’s Prison and twice as the Archdiocesan Volunteer of the Year, Catholic Social Services Refugee Resettlement Program.
Having been married to Clarence for 55 years, she is the loving mother of four and grandmother to six.
“I love the women of IWP --- the self-reflection, hospitality, capability, strength, and will to do well that is found in so many.”
Having worked for 3 years at Indiana Department of Correction in the Central office, Barb analyzed opportunities for prison-made goods and provided sales forecasting of existing prison-made goods. There she had contact with nearly every other state correctional department and caught the “bug” to serve this population. She’s been committed ever since.
Barb has a Bachelor’s of Marketing from Ball State University and a Master’s in Accounting from IUPUI. Professionally, she has held various positions in financial operations work running a large scale commission payable program as well as other accounts payable and variable incentive management functions.
Her volunteer interests include Facilitator at the Indiana Women’s Prison for the Getting Ahead While Getting Out program, St. Pius X Art & Environment Coordinator, and CYO Youth Volleyball coach.
“I am a Notre Dame football fan. I also play volleyball a couple of nights a week, and hope to be able to coordinate recreational volleyball inside Indiana Women’s Prison.”
Inspired by the determination and goodness of formerly incarcerated women, yet touched by their stories of challenges and frustrations, Terri became involved with Bridge to Home and later One Net Coalition. She is committed to the vision of facilitating a smoother, more positive transition from prison into the community for returning women.
With her Bachelor’s in Business from Miami University and MBA from Indiana University Kelley School of Business, Terri has over 30 years in sales leadership within the pharmaceutical and medical nutrition industry. At St. Simon the Apostle, she is the coordinator of the Greeter Ministry, and volunteers with St. Vincent de Paul Society and the annual parish festival.
“As a wife and mother, I enjoy spending time with my husband, two adult children and extended family members. I am an avid runner, love to read, garden and just enjoy the beauty of nature! Through One Net, I am excited about the possibilities of providing transitional housing and mentoring for the women!”