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Impact

Trina

Sponsors became a national model for reentry services because it is dedicated to wrap-around services. Folks releasing from prison face unique challenges that require support in all areas from employment and housing to mental health and recovery. In this informative and inspiring video former participant and current Board Member Trina Kanewa explains how she was able to transform her life thanks to Sponsors, and why she is compelled to give back to the organization.

2021 Impact Report

Sponsors is pleased to share this year-long impact report. Through our work in 2021, 605 individuals received onsite counseling support; 690 individuals were housed in safe, affordable sites; 52 individuals secured a new permanent home through The Way Home Collaborative; and $100,571 in financial assistance requests were granted. In all, Sponsors transformed 1075 lives! 

Download the 2021 Impact Report

Kendra

Meet Kendra: a former Sponsor’s participant who is now actively fighting for criminal justice reform.

Kendra is a peer support specialist, Sponsors mentor and political activist. Her story is triumphant and inspiring. Follow the YouTube link to watch the whole three-part series outlining her incredible journey.

Ryan

Over the last year we have all slowly been adapting to life in the time of COVID. So much has changed—the way we work and continue education, the way we communicate, the places we visit. For folks who have been in prison, the transition is even more pronounced.

Ryan learned about Sponsors at a reach-in during his decade-long incarceration. Like many participants, he knew he needed somewhere to go when he released from prison. What he couldn’t have anticipated was how different the COVID-stricken world would be from the one he had left ten years prior.

Finding housing and work under our current restrictions is challenging even for folks without conviction histories—but through his perseverance and the support of Sponsors’ programs, Ryan was able to do both. Immediately upon release, while living in transitional housing, he finished the degree he started working on while incarcerated.

Sponsors’ staff and policies helped Ryan develop a constructive routine. He was able to work, save money and develop a meaningful connection with his mentor. The two were even selected as the Mentorship Match of the Month before Ryan connected with The Way Home Collaborative. Upon completion of the transitional housing program, he was able to move into long-term housing.

Reflecting on his time in the program, Ryan praises the work of Sponsors’ staff. He believes one of the agency’s greatest strengths lies in the shared life experiences of so many staff members. Knowing several of the people he worked with had spent time in the prison system as well helped him to connect, relate and communicate.

Now that Ryan is settled into his new life of freedom he finds himself following the same routine he built while in transitional housing—working, going to school, and continuing to build the life he always wanted.

Elizabeth

Here at Sponsors, we know that people can and do change. Elizabeth is the perfect example of why second chances matter. She has been through our program twice.

“I was in a different head space this time I paroled, so I definitely appreciated it more. My case manager was always there for me if I needed her and I really loved the Trauma group that I was in,” she said. “I also participated in the neurofeedback, which I had never heard of before coming to Sponsors, and I loved it. I recommend it to everyone.”

After completing the transitional housing program, Elizabeth participated in The Way Home—a powerful collaboration that offers extended supports to folks facing the greatest hurdles to successful reentry. With the help of the Way Home, Elizabeth was able to secure her own apartment and begin working on the goals she set when she released.

Elizabeth has been able to reconnect with her family and welcome her son into her apartment. She now gives support back to women releasing to Sponsors by taking them to church, work, and Celebrate Recovery.

On top of holding down the same job for well over a year—a personal record—Elizabeth was recently offered an internship as a Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor! We couldn’t be prouder of her and her accomplishments.

Natalie

For many folks aiming to rebuild their lives after incarceration, reuniting with family is the most important step. The period of separation alone places strain on personal relationships, but when combined with other challenges of reentry—finding housing and employment, gaining access to health services, and working through recovery—the process of reunification becomes even trickier.

Natalie was grateful to learn about Sponsors while she was still in prison. She knew she needed somewhere to go and that she wanted to do something different. By moving into Bothy Cottage, Natalie was able to have her kids with her again the day she released.

“There are so many different facets to Sponsors that have been very, very valuable to me,” she explained.

Natalie was paired up with a mentor she remains in touch with today. Weekly meetings with her Case Manager provided security, support, and accountability. She and her kids received bikes from the bike shop, providing their sole mode of transportation through the summer of COVID. But most important to Natalie was the mental health support she received.

“They care about our trauma and our mental health,” she said. “Connecting with a counselor and a psychiatrist got me stabilized on medication, and that’s one of the top things that has helped me.”

Today Natalie lives in her own 3-bedroom house with her children. She has comfort and stability. With the money she saved while in the program, she was able to purchase a car and furnish her home. She is getting her BCD license so she can become a contractor. Her family continues to grow closer and healthier as they utilize the resources they gained at Sponsors.