Women Empowering Women For Success Program Changing Lives One Woman at A Time
Martha Washington once said, “The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions – and not our circumstances.” These words describe how women in the criminal justice system in Montgomery County learn to believe in their potential and take action to help ensure a successful future after probation.
Montgomery County Director of Probation Services, Carlos Walker, is committed to helping ensure they provide supervision for felony and misdemeanor cases while providing meaningful intervention for their clients. A specific program for women is the Women Empowering Women for Success (WEWFS). It is a program with the goal of providing essential information to women on topics such as self-care, women’s health, and personal and professional development. By incorporating evidenced based lesson plans such as problem solving, decision making and interpersonal relationships, the expectation is to change the behavior that caused them to be in the system.
WEWFS’s program provides a “safe space” for women to openly discuss women’s issues and problems. Women in the justice system are frequently there due to choices made as a result of underlying trauma. The facilitators for the program are Senior Probation Officers Nia Elliott and Serida Lowery. They are exemplary, compassionate leaders who understand the women’s desire and need to change in order to succeed in life. Added value to the curriculum are guest speakers who present on such topics as Financial Responsibility, Sexual Awareness/Accountability, Relationships, and Business Etiquette.
On Thursday, February 24, 2022, the inaugural class of four empowered women graduated from the program. The graduates are Tara Ernst, Kelley Jeffers, Tiffany Knox and Autumn Young. “The WEWFS group was truly an inspiring and educational class that helped me in multiple areas of my life. We learned things that were very beneficial and during the course of the class I got a job and now am in the process of moving up in the company. I took a lot from the time we had and plan on using the information going forward in my life for the betterment of my future going forward. I appreciate my Probation Officer for recommending me to join it and I am proud to say I successfully graduated the group”, said Kelley Jeffers.
“The WEWFS program taught me many beneficial life lessons. It also inspired me to continue to stay on the right track and continue to empower women around me! I loved meeting the girls in the group and I’m glad I had the opportunity to be involved” said Autumn Young. Tara Ernst commented, “I thought the class was good for my self-worth. I enjoyed the time spent and I’m a little more confident now.”
Probation Officer Serida Lowery emphasized the importance of what her parents taught her, “Always move with purpose, even if you don’t understand it at that time, and never let anyone define your purpose. It is your responsibility to pour into your own purpose”. Probation Officer Nia Elliott commented, “The women feel empowered for success after Probation.” She shared one of the most positive impacts of the program is they received information and resources to ensure their personal success. They are inspired and empowered today, having learned that their journey to a successful personal and profession future begins by doing what is necessary, then doing what’s possible, and ultimately doing what they thought was impossible. Congratulations to the graduates. May their futures be filled with much love, peace, joy and success.