Submitted by dsong on

During the height of the pandemic, Therese was troubleshooting electronic medical records in hospital laboratories. This work exposed Therese to the COVID-19 transmission rates in prisons which were substantially higher than the general public. The severity of COVID-19 in prisons was compounded by the fact that incarcerated individuals also have less access to healthcare. She decided she wanted to take action and saw service with AmeriCorps as a way to get involved immediately.

As an AmeriCorps member, Therese secured a substantial grant helping to financially support a virtual mentoring program for formerly incarcerated adults interested in professional development. She used research-based methods to create a strong foundation for this mentoring program, ensuring sustainable support after completing her second term of service. She helped the creation of a digital platform that virtually connects growth-ready participants to career-relevant mentors and helpful resources to open doors for high-quality employment opportunities.

During Therese's service, she also ensured she included the voices of the community she was serving. She established an advisory committee of formerly incarcerated individuals and business professionals in various sectors. Her time interacting with current and former incarcerated individuals has altered her perception of how one can support this community. She realized there is a much-needed focus on employment and economic opportunity for formerly incarcerated individuals to reduce recidivism and allow this community to thrive.

Therese found direction in her career goals and will use her education award to help achieve those goals. She is in the process of applying to law school and is eager to practice employment law, civil rights, and community economic development. Therese is currently starting her second year of service, and she plans to use this time to learn more about the formerly incarcerated community's entrepreneurial and economic-based legal needs.