The Junior League of Tulsa (JLT) has been a community partner to Resonance Center for Women for more than 20 years and will continue its work in the 2016-17 League year. Resonance was founded in 1977 as a non-profit organization which focused on offering troubled women a support system of groups and educational opportunities outside of their challenging life situations. Today, Resonance responds to the needs of Tulsa women by offering an outpatient drug and alcohol treatment facility. Through reentry and mentoring programs such as Choosing to Change, Resonance aims to help female offenders break the cycle of repeat incarceration and support the well-being and self-sufficiency of women and their families challenged by the criminal justice system.
JLT partners with the Choosing to Change program to offer support to the women at the Turley Residential Center. JLT’s Choosing to Change Committee spends four sessions with a group of twelve women over an eight week period of time. Throughout this timeframe, JLT will focus on teaching a curriculum that includes communication, nutrition, self-care, conflict resolution, and job skills. Choosing to Change Chair Laura Law states, “We laugh often, we eat good food, and we have real conversations with these women about some very difficult topics and how they can improve the direction of their lives.”
Through the planned curriculum, the JLT Choosing to Change Committee aims to foster one-on-one relationships between the women at Turley and the women of JLT. Small groups allow the Committee to promote a positive, encouraging support system. A secondary goal of the Committee is to learn, research, and educate members about the issues surrounding female incarceration in Oklahoma. Deidra Kirtley, Executive Director of Resonance Center for Women, spoke to Gusher Online last year about JLT’s work with Resonance saying “I am so thankful the Junior League of Tulsa is committed to partnering with Resonance. The respect, compassion, and camaraderie the members have shared with our clients at Turley practically brings tears to my eyes—especially when I see JLT members raising these women up, without judgment or pity, and creating a relationship based on mutual trust and respect.”
Currently, Oklahoma has the highest rate for female incarceration in the United States. Throughout the partnership between JLT and Resonance, JLT has provided one-on-one mentoring to over 120 women. The Committee looks forward to continuing to serve more women and expand the reach of JLT within the community.