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Lakin Grant Writing Class

LAKIN — The eventual goal for most inmates at the Lakin Correctional Center is to serve their time and become productive members of society when they are released. To help the inmates achieve skills that could make them more valuable in the workplace, the Lakin Correctional Center Advisory Council has teamed up with various community to groups to teach inmates the grant writing process. The grant writing classes are being coordinated through the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation.

Amy Leach, advisory council member, described the grant writing classes as a chance for inmates to learn as well as benefit the community.“This is the perfect opportunity to help them get some skills. Grant writing is a profession that they can still do at home, as they raise children and they can do it on their own time,” Leach said. “Grant writing takes good writing skills and organization.”

According to Leach, the program is allowing inmates to work with and write grants for various local organizations, including the Mason County Toys for Kids, Hannan High School, Gallery at 409 and the Point Pleasant Junior Women’s Club. The local groups are responsible for finding the grants, gathering information and meeting with the inmates to explain the project. “All of these clubs sent reps to team up with the inmates and work with them long term. The inmates want to give back to the community — they have really stepped up,” she said.
For example, Leach said that one inmate is working closely with the Gallery at 409 to secure funding for the art classes at Lakin, which the gallery is currently providing to selected inmates. “It is really neat getting to know the women here,” Leach added. Dana Richardson, of the Point Pleasant Junior Women’s Club and Lakin advisory council, described working with the inmates on grants as being both wonderful and rewarding.

“They have done a great job. They are very thorough and spend a lot of time making sure every thing is correct. They want to please us and they try their best to get the money we are asking for,” she said. “They feel connected with the outside by helping.” Chella Price of the Point Pleasant Junior Women’s Club also described working with the inmates as being a good experience.

“It is very rewarding to be able to go and help, and it helps the community,” she said. Leach agreed that the inmates feel a part of the community by writing grants for local groups. “They are being educated and at the same time feel connected to the community. Them giving back makes them feel useful,” she said. Lori Loomis, lead teacher of Lakin’s education department, said that the inmates were very happy about the grant writing classes.

“They love it. It gives them something to do — they are very community oriented. They step up to the plate every time they can do something for the community. They really enjoy it,” Loomis said. “(Grant writing) gives them marketing skills, and is a skill they can definitely use a source of income. The more grants they do, the more they will improve.” Leach described the inmates as being very hardworking as well. “They have put their heart and soul into these grants,” she said.

Posted:May 12, 2010