Longing for Home

Things are going to happen in your life
that are going to cut you into pieces
inside you are going to feel dead.

But you are not
You are merely coming back to life.

Never give up hope.

~~~ written by a women behind bars

For the past 15 years, I have facilitated The Journey Home program in the Northampton County Corrections. The program consisted of trauma-informed, expressive arts activities in the women’s unit. I started one day a week and last year before COVID19 I was going in 4 times a week. Now…

I have not been inside the jail in over a year. My life has been empty without the connections to the amazing women I met inside those walls. The restrictions of this pandema has impacted all of our lives. My heart aches for the women who locked in their cells and do not have the programs that I and others have brought it. Over the past year I have been in touch with amazing women who have walked out those prison walls and have settled in the community.  We met up for coffee, met at my studio, and kept touch on FaceBook. Several of the women met behind the bars were moved to state and federal prisons. I am able to keep in touch with them through an email type system.

In the past year, I have become involved with The Lehigh Valley Justice  Institute. Within that organization I have focussed my work on reentry. Since the beginning of the formation of The Journey Home, the prime directive if you will has been on healing the harms and trauma and also returning to the community. My open community studio is a space where women can have a safe space to meet, make art, and continue their healing and recovery. My work with the Institute has broadened my efforts to include all aspects of life for those who are walking out the jail doors. This includes: housing, employment, education, reuniting with family, friends and community, mental health and recovery, as well as other concerns. So as I expand my efforts I am redesigning this blog and website to include both the challenges and celebrations on the Journey Home and beyond.

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