Our Place DC

See http://media.csosa.gov for “DC Public Safety” radio and television shows.
See www.csosa.gov for the web site of the federal Court Services and Offender Services Agency.
See http://media.csosa.gov/blog for the “DC Public safety” blog.

This Television Program is available at http://media.csosa.gov/podcast/video/?p=25

Cherie Lindsay: Our Place D.C. is a very, very unique program. We are one of the only programs in the country that provides the caliber of services that we do for formerly incarcerated and incarcerated women.

Petrina: First time I heard about Our Place D.C., I was incarcerated, and they would come and give good information of what services they had to offer. Believe it or not, we would go because they would give nice purple pens. At that point in my life, I really had no interest in their services, because I hadn’t decided to make changes in my life.

Tracye Payne Wilson: We don’t do things in the conventional way that other women’s programs do things. We meet the women where they are to allow them to grow to trust us.

Petrina: When I did decide to make change in my life, I looked for that purple pen because it had the number on it. 548-2400. It saved my life. It changed my life.

Denise: I was in a halfway house over in Northwest, and at that time, Our Place had meetings. We were allowed to go to meetings. I wasn’t much of a talker, I just felt safe when I’d come.

Tracye Payne Wilson: Denise was one of our very first clients. She came to us, she had no family here, she was very broken. What we learned to do is to listen.

Denise: Getting to know Tracy, and being able to trust her. I trusted her from the very start.

Victoria: I heard about Our Place from another inmate. I called them collect, and I got a lot more help than what I expected. When I came home from jail this time, I had nothing but the clothes on my back. I didn’t even have my baby. Our Place was there for me.

Cherie Lindsay:: A lot of our women are homeless, they’re unemployed, they have no kind of income coming in. One of the barriers for a lot of our women, probably 95% of our women, was no way of seeking gainful employment because of their record, so we have the employment program, we also have the legal services program.

Case worker: What the court can do is they can seal your record.

Cherie Lindsay:: Whether it be identification, a birth certificate, something to eat, a warm hug, a dry place to stay during the day if it’s raining outside, any kind of services a woman needs to successfully get back into the community, that’s what we’re here for.

Petrina: When I first came home from prison, I had on tennis shoes and sweat shorts, and I was brought here to the Clothing boutique and, help yourself, that’s what I was told.

Tracye Payne Wilson: Many of the women have been so broken, simply because they’ve never had anyone show them any kindness or consideration.

Petrina: When you come in to Our Place D.C., you know, you’re not just a client, you’re part of a family.

Victoria: Our Place is an organization that can help you rebuild your life. I had lost my children in the system, and they had legal services available, and they had a lawyer on duty that acted as a liasion for me, to help advocate for me. She helped me to fight.

Tracye Payne Wilson: I believe in the process. Everything is a process.

Denise: I am a recovered drug addict. I wasn’t very good when I started here, and I didn’t take a lot of suggestions.

Tracye Payne Wilson: I was afraid for Denise, because Denise had two children, and she was a single parent.

Denise: They helped me get into treatment, but I relapsed. But I knew what to do. I had a bond with Tracy, and I called her and asked her for help, and I just celebrated five years.

Cherie Lindsay: We’re not here to judge you for what you’ve done. We’re here to make sure you get back into the community successfully.

Cherie Lindsay: [to client] HIV one-on-one is not about testing, it’s just about prevention and risk reduction.

Cherie Lindsay: The HIV services program is the only program that every client must access when they come to our facility.

Cherie Lindsay: [to client] and always remember to use a different condom with every sex act.

Cherie Lindsay: I make sure that I talk to them, within boundaries, but like they’re my girlfriend. Girl, I’ll sit down and say, let’s talk about some condoms, and let’s talk about how you can protect yourself from HIV, not just HIV, but all the different other kinds of STDs.

Tracye Payne Wilson: Our Place D.C. has raised the bar for women’s services. What I found over the years is that it doesn’t matter where a woman comes from. It’s where she’s going. And I know that sounds like a cliché, but it’s true.

Victoria: I regained custody of my children. I owe that to Our Place. It’s a place that’s home.

Petrina: It’s like the harder we work, the harder they work to show that they’re proud of us for giving ourselves a chance.

Denise: My experience with our place was so wonderful. It has helped me change my life completely. Our Place is my family. I love them.

Cherie Lindsay: We do awesome work. There’s nobody like us.

[Video Ends]


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