For Immediate Release - May 16, 2016

Eastern Hampshire Probation To Host Womanhood Program Graduation

The Eastern Hampshire District Court’s Womanhood Program, will graduate eight women, ages 20 to early 50’s, on Tuesday, May 17th,.2 p.m., at the courthouse, 205 State Street, Belchertown.

The ceremony will feature the unveiling of a quilt made by the women which reflects their journey as court-involved women seeking ways to improve their lives and shed unhealthy habits and lifestyles. This quilt will be presented to a representative from Safe Passage, a Northampton-based social service agency that provides services for women, who are victims of domestic violence, and their children.

The Womanhood Program’s 10-week sessions feature a curriculum that covers nutrition and health; breast and cervical cancer; personal safety and self-defense; as well as resume writing, job search, and interviewing skills. Most of the graduates volunteered and were not court-ordered to attend, according to Probation Officer Regina Sanderson, who established this initiative. Sanderson also brought in two women from a western Massachusetts minimum security facility to participate.

“The program has been able to reach another population of women in need. It’s amazing to bring women together who not only are from different backgrounds, but also ages, education, and probation status,” Sanderson said. “We try through this program to offer education, information, and possible friendships among the women in hopes that they will then use the skills and reach out to the women they have met to reduce recidivism.”

This Eastern Hampshire program is one of two Womanhood Programs throughout the state. It is modeled after Chelsea District Court Probation’s Womanhood Program also referred to as “El Programa De La Mujer.”