Staff who work in the Timpanogos Women’s Correctional Facility had one message for volunteers who give their time and talent to the YPREP program: Without you, it would be much more difficult for us to help female inmates succeed.
In a show of appreciation, the Department invited the volunteers to an appreciation luncheon prepared by female inmates in Davis Applied Technology College’s Culinary Arts program. The mid-August luncheon also provided an opportunity for volunteers to learn more about the history of the YPREP program and each other’s classes.
YPREP stands for “Your Parole Requires Extensive Preparation” and includes classes designed to help women successfully transition to the community, thus reducing recidivism. With the help of volunteers and community partners, classes offered focus on such issues as housing, employment, transportation, childcare and health care.
Capt. Clay Cawley was one of the pioneers who got the program started in 2009.
Initially, just four volunteers agreed to work with the female inmates, he said. But word spread about the program’s impact and by the end of the first year, participation had quadrupled.
Today, more than 40 volunteers are involved in YPREP. Programs offered include Bridges Out of Poverty, GOGI (Getting Out by Going In), cultural diversity, financial literacy, stress management, successful gardening, interviewing and resume writing skills, overview of vocational rehabilitation resources, Moving On, mental health groups, and self-efficacy. At the end of September, the program will add a Toastmasters class.
In addition to individual volunteers, YPREP partners include the Department of Workforce Services, NAMI, the Department of Health, United Way of Utah County, the Division of Housing and Urban Development, Journey of Hope and Orange Street Community Correctional Center.
Staff and volunteers acknowledge they may not be able to reach every inmate, but they are able to make a difference in the lives of many women.
“We look forward to coming out here every single week because it’s changed our lives, working with these inmates,” said volunteer Randy Hopkins of Farmington, who with his wife Jan teaches a GOGI class.
Bill and Ann Nagle, who teach a Bridges Out of Poverty class, have been volunteering at the prison for seven years.
“We fell in love with the relationships we could build with the women,” Ann Nagle said.
Volunteer Stephanie Anderson, who lives in Utah County, teaches the Ready to Learn class and also directs the Bedtime Stories program.
“One thing I have learned by being here is the staff want people to succeed,” she said.
After years of success with women, the YPREP program is now expanding to the men’s side of the prison.