(WKBN) – During Tuesday’s In-Depth segment, we introduced you to a local program that helps people get back to work and find homes after they’ve been in prison. Tonight, we meet a client of United Returning Citizens who is now working with the program.
Carshara Bradley, the housing director for United Returning Citizens, now joins the discussion with Dionne Dowdy-Lacey, the executive director of United Returning Citizens.
Bradley discusses how she became involved with the program and what it has meant to her as an individual and to her family.
“I get I was formerly incarcerated seven years ago. I came home from doing a two-year bit in Marysville and I needed an outlet of what I wanted to do when I came home. I wanted to, you know, help young girls that were going through things mentally or dealing with things that I went through to show them that, you know, it is a second chance, is the better way to go about things,” Bradley said. “I got linked up with Ms. Dionne through my sister, Brittney Bradley. She owns B’s Boutique in Boardman. She had told me about her program and I went to visit Ms. Dionne and I just, everything she was doing was amazing, you know? I wanted to be a part of it. So I had to, you know, get my ducks in a row and be ready to get in her program and to do what I needed to do for myself so I could help others.”
Bradley says she had to deal with what she refers to as trauma.
“I had to face myself in the mirror, actually, you know? I had to really deal with and learn to forgive, to let go, to embrace, you know, where the trauma came from. To just know that it wasn’t the end for me because, you know, we are, we all were dealt cards that we wouldn’t expect as kids,” Bradley said. “So I just embraced it and I didn’t let it define me and I just… she was the outlet. The first time I talked to her, you know, she gave me hope and she believed in me.”
Trauma plays a major part in many situations that the United Returning Citizens program deals with.
“Trauma, PTSD, that’s something that is a major problem within our clients and we need alternative ways to deal with that. So we do things holistically. So we have like an art therapist — she does tapping, she does that mindfulness. She does the bold things that they can take with themselves when they go home, if they have a traumatic or a trigger of those things,” Dowdy-Lacey said.
The clients have been victims of violence or perpetrators of the violence themselves, whether it’s domestic, physical or gun violence.
There are so many different definitions of trauma that the United Returning Citizens have to address every day.
“Yeah, all of those are above that you said has come through our door that we had to deal with or find the resources or find ways. We’re now teaming up with the Trumbull Mental Health Board and they’re going to certify some peer support for us so that they could be mental health coaches because when you first come out of the jail or being incarcerated, you have nowhere to go to mentally or emotionally navigate through your emotions,” Dowdy-Lacey said. “So we want to be able to have people, as soon as you get out, they help you navigate that until you get a therapist or until you, you know, pretty much get on your feet.”
During our next In-Depth segment, we’ll delve a little deeper into the definitions of trauma and how this program is making a major impact.