McClelland to Teach Second Parenting Class at Women’s Prison
Since Horizon started our program at the Ohio Reformatory for Women two years ago, we heard the same statement again and again from Horizon women:
“I don’t want my children to go through what I went through. I want them to have a better life.”
Horizon Curriculum Consultant Madeleine Trichel took their message to heart and began facilitating a weekly parenting class at the Marysville prison. Participants sign up for Parenting Inside Out in addition to their regular program courses.
Since so many incarcerated women are mothers – approximately 75% of women at ORW have children – Horizon is adding a second parenting class this year. It was easy to find the best facilitator for the job—she was already a key volunteer with our men’s program.
Sue McClelland leads weekly Building Community meetings at London Correctional Institution, where Horizon participants and volunteers discuss how to resolve conflict in constructive and meaningful ways.
Professionally, Sue counseled families as Director of Community Education and Prevention at Madison Health hospital for 30 years. Her experience and depth of knowledge makes her the perfect person to facilitate Horizon parenting classes.
Although she is already an expert in this area, Sue will complete 13 hours of training in the Parenting Inside Out curriculum, developed specifically for incarcerated people. After that, she will meet with Horizon women each week to help them develop tools for problem-solving, nonviolent discipline, positive reinforcement, and other important life skills.
Helping parents break the cycle of trauma and focus on their child’s needs is important work, Sue said.
“A lot of these women endured childhoods that you wouldn’t wish on anyone,” she said. “Now, they are in prison, miles and miles away from their own children. Can you imagine how difficult that must be? Yet, despite everything they’ve been through, they are 100% committed to becoming the best parents possible. If that doesn’t inspire me to do my part, I am in the wrong business.”
Since 2000, Horizon Prison Initiative has provided an emotionally safe place for incarcerated men and women to discover—and practice—a new way to live. Participants spend 10 months developing social and emotional skills, healing from trauma, and gaining insight into the realities that brought them to prison. They also form a deeper connection to their chosen faith tradition and gain an appreciation for other people’s beliefs. By graduation, they have developed a positive sense of self-worth and knowledge that they are part of the larger world. This newfound sense of self extends beyond Horizon to their families, the broader prison population, and the community.