Crossroads, Inc. provides housing, education, support and counseling in a homelike environment for women who have been incarcerated. The organization's goal is to empower women to take control of their lives and to help them step out of the revolving door of prison and jail.
Since July 1974, Crossroads has provided its services at no cost to women immediately upon their release from prison. Participation in the Crossroads program gives a woman the security of knowing her basic needs are met and allows her to focus on acquiring new skills and tools for healthier living.
According to Sister Terry Dodge, the founder of Crossroads, it is not enough to "just say no" to habits and behaviors. People need to learn to see the possibilities of "yes" ... first see that there are alternatives and then how to choose what is best at that time. Crossroads does not do for the woman what she is capable of doing for herself, but it does not automatically assume she knows how to do it.
The program focuses on the positive, thereby helping the woman develop a sense of herself and strengthen her self-confidence. It looks for the "teachable moments" with each woman. Assisting her in figuring out the "why" behind a behavior or action will ultimately help her make a better choice next time. Crossroads journeys along with each woman, loving her until she is able to love herself.
While providing a full residential program, Crossroads works closely with each individual woman recognizing her particular needs at the time. For instance, Pauline faced significant issues, including childhood trauma, physical and emotional abuse, health issues, and mental challenges. Small incremental, repetitive steps helped Pauline learn a new way of living and how to be comfortable with the changes she was making. Knowing Crossroads staff was always ready to help or to listen gave Pauline the confidence to venture out on her own riding the bus, going to appointments, doing odd jobs in the neighborhood. About four months after her arrival, Pauline could be heard coming down the hallway proclaiming: Sister Terry, I'm not afraid anymore! Three years later, Pauline is living on her own, receiving SSI and working part-time.
Crossroads is about community. It is part of the local community of Claremont and the larger community of Los Angeles County and California. What Crossroads does is vital to California. Most women (and men) will be released from prison. Helping them acclimate back into the community and become self-sufficient is a win-win situation.
According to the California Department of Corrections, for every 23 - 25 people who do not return to prison, the General Fund saves $1,000,000. At Crossroads, almost 90% of the women who complete the program continue to be self-sufficient six years later. That is a huge savings for the people of California.
150 Women Changing the World presented to Sister Terry Dodge
Newsweek Magazine, 2012
Minerva Award presented to Sister Terry Dodge
State of California, 2010
Sister Terry Dodge
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