The intern would work with my wife Debi Edmund, who is Project Return's new director. Before seeking her master's degree in Child and Family Services at the Univerity of Illinois-Springfield, she was a public relations consultant for the Illinois Association of School Boards and is a former features editor of The Rock Island Argus (where I met her). So she is an experienced communications professional who has combined her mass comm. skills with another line of work.
Project Return’s mission is to help incarcerated mothers reintegrate into the Springfield community by matching each returning mother with a team of trained and supported volunteers for one year. We also educate the public about the barriers these women face as they seek to make a successful re-entry into the community.
Paid staff and trained volunteer Partnership Teams help participants address immediate challenges: complying with the conditions of parole, achieving financial stability, finding immediate and permanent housing, accessing health care, reconnecting with family and friends, and resuming parental responsibilities. Without such support, released inmates are at risk of returning to criminal activity, substance abuse, or other self-defeating behaviors. Project Return hopes to break that cycle, benefiting both the clients and the community. Our comprehensive, individualized re-entry services begin prior to the individual’s release and continue for up to a year after release. Services include assistance in finding or accessing short term and permanent housing, employment, education or employment training, child care, health care, mental health care, counseling and addiction support services, reliable transportation and safety net resources. It is hoped that each participant will leave our program with improved self-esteem, better mental and physical health, and increased self-sufficiency, thus reducing the chances that she will re-offend and return to prison.