Program helps inmates become mentors

Voices from Inside is a 15-year old volunteer organization

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A Chicopee-based “writing” program helps women make the transition from jail inmates to productive members of the community.

Voices from Inside” has been helping Chicopee Women’s jail inmates learn to express themselves through their writing. Women start by writing about their own lives, and learn to become leaders and mentors after they do their time.

Karen Hansmann, President of Voices From Inside, told 22News, “We’ve had a lot of success stories. One of our previously incarcerated women just graduated with honors from Smith College.”

Sonia Mendez, a former inmate in Springfield who participates in the program, said, “I really enjoy it. We reach out. We give back. We encourage other women to express their voices. Let their voices be heard.”

Voices from Inside is a 15-year old volunteer organization.

Members performed their poetry and other readings Tuesday night at the Chicopee Library. Women are encouraged to express themselves, gain confidence, and make positive changes in their lives.

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