Like many Americans, Horizon participants at the Ohio Reformatory for Women set goals for the year ahead. In a January Building Community class, Horizon staff decided to kick off the new year by celebrating how far the women have come in five months and by deciding what they want to accomplish in 2018.
Here’s just a sample of what they’ve achieved so far as a group:
- They have lived in households of 6 to 8 people, creating a stable, safe environment.
- They have attended Building Community classes to improve communication, problem solving, and other life skills.
- They have discovered that people in the community care about them enough to visit each week.
- They have learned about various faith traditions.
- They have taken Parenting Inside Out classes to strengthen their connection with their children.
Horizon women have plenty to celebrate
The class also celebrated individual accomplishments. Building Communities educator Madelyn Trichel asked if anyone felt comfortable sharing theirs. One by one, women stood up:
“I got my GED.”
“I found the courage to take college classes – at my age!”
“I was able to hug someone for the first time in years.”
“My mother died, and I am learning to cope with the loss day by day.”
“I am going home soon. I am scared, but I am trying to get my mind ready so I don’t come back.”
A round of applause met each proclamation.
Planning for the future
Next, Trichel assigned homework: Write a goal for 2018, one that is specific and measurable with the steps needed to achieve it.
While the exercise seems simple on the surface, it can be the first time some women feel confident enough to set and work toward a goal. Living in a secure, supportive space helps them realize that not only is it possible, they do not have to go it alone.