"Empowering women to create the life they envision."
"All women coming home from incarceration will be empowered to create the life they envision and heal from their past."
Our mission is to spread awareness, create societal and institutional change, and support women coming home from incarceration through strengths-based, creative programming. We empower formerly incarcerated women with histories of domestic violence and trauma to become leaders and achieve their goals of obtaining employment and housing through mentorship and case management. We also support women in their journeys to heal from their past and rebuild their lives, rock by rock, through counseling focused on creative expression, storytelling, responsibility, remorse, and change.
Sharon Richardson, a returning citizen” is the Founder and Executive Director of Reentry Rocks and also the founding Re-Entry Specialist at Steps to End Family Violence. In collaboration with the legendary Sr. Mary Nerney they created one of the first re-entry programs in the country that is specifically designed to meet the unique and complex needs of survivors of intimate partner violence and other forms of gender based violence. While serving 20 years to life for a domestic violence case among many other outstanding accomplishments Ms. Richardson completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education, in accordance with the standards of the College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy. Ms. Richardson also obtained her Associate Degree in Social Sciences and her Bachelor Degree in Sociology. She uses her personal history to inform her professional work. Her inspirational story and compelling style has also made her an effective speaker and educator. Ms. Richardson has presented on issues of domestic violence at Columbia Law School, Criminal Justice Action Network, CUNY Law School Workshops on Domestic Violence, and Public Trainings on Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act with the Correctional Association of NY. She also participated at a public screening - film Crime after Crime, was a panelist at Sakhi conference on Domestic violence, and was a guest on WBAI’s Talkback with Hugh Hamilton 99.5FM. Ms. Richardson is a writer and producer and has put on several productions while incarcerated and at her church since her release from prison.
Kiminia Stowers is a humanitarian, advocate, educator and community service representative. Kiminia has advocated for parents, teachers and students of the New York City Department of Education. She works side-by-side with principals and regional leaders as Parent Association President, and meets with New York state elected officials to ensure that students receive a quality education. For this work, the Department of Education has awarded Kiminia several leadership awards for her outstanding performance. She has also tutored elementary and middle school students improving their self- esteem and grades.
Additionally, Kiminia devotes her time volunteering at a nursing home and at women’s shelters in New York City and Pennsylvania. Finally, as the President of the “Phenomenal Women” of the Mission of Hope Ministries in New York City, she hosts monthly meetings that encourage, strengthen, and empower women in their spirituality. Kiminia is currently pursuing a degree in social work, and has a desire to work with women in need, especially those who have been through the criminal justice system and have experienced domestic violence.
Jaya Vasandani is Co-Director of the Women and Justice Project, an independent project dedicated to ending mass incarceration of women in the United States. Prior to this, Jaya was a senior staff person at the Correctional Association of New York’s Women in Prison Project for 11 years. Jaya led the Project’s community organizing and coalition work and helped lead prison monitoring and policy advocacy efforts, including the successful campaign to ban shackling of incarcerated pregnant women in New York State. She received her law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law where she was a member of the pilot class of the Kathryn O. Greenburg Immigration Justice Clinic. Jaya is the co-author of “Constitution on ICE: A report on Immigration Home Raid Operations” (2009) and “HIV Services for Women in NY State Prisons” (2015).
Rebecca Holmes, MSW is a criminal mitigation specialist with more than 25 years experience working for women in the non profit sector in New York City, Canada and South Africa. As the Coordinator of the Alternatives to Incarceration program at STEPS to End Family Violence she worked with Sister Mary Nerney from 2006 to 2012 advocating for and serving women charged with crimes committed in the context of trauma and domestic violence. She is honored to be a ReEntry Rocks board member. "ReEntry Rocks addresses a critical gap in services for women with histories of trauma and abuse -- disproportionately represented in prison -- returning to their communities. Sharon and ReEntry Rocks are making real through service, empowerment and activism a South African slogan: you strike a woman, you strike a rock, you will dislodge a bolder, you will be crushed."
Advisory Board Member
Josie White has been working in the field of trauma for over 15 years with experience in children’s welfare, gender based violence and legal systems. She received her BSW in 2001 from the University of Texas in Austin and her MSW in 2007 from Columbia University. Josie worked with STEPS to End Family Violence from 2006-2012 as Senior Counselor and Rikers Services Coordinator. This included the development and formulation of therapeutic services for victims of intimate partner violence at the women’s jail on Rikers Island. Currently Josie works as a criminal mitigation specialist for defense attorneys looking to advocate on behalf of their clients in the Bronx.
Melissa Mahabir has close to 15 years of experience as a social worker. After graduating from The College of William and Mary with a degree in International Relations, Melissa began her career mentoring and monitoring youth involved in the juvenile justice system in Maryland through the AmeriCorps Program. Melissa then worked in Miami, FL at a children’s clinic doing medical social work with families and within the child welfare system as a case manager and as a special projects coordinator advocating for youth in foster care. Since moving to New York, Melissa has obtained a masters of social work degree from Columbia University, worked for five years at STEPS to End Family Violence as a domestic violence counselor/advocate, and is currently a forensic social worker in Queens. Melissa is deeply committed to advocating on behalf of people in the criminal justice system and others who have experienced violence and oppression.
Advisory Board Member
Tamar Kraft-Stolar is Co-Director of the Women and Justice Project, an independent project dedicated to ending mass incarceration of women in the United States. Prior to this, Tamar directed the Correctional Association of New York’s Women in Prison Project for 12 years. She led the Project’s prison monitoring, coalition building and policy advocacy efforts, including successful campaigns for state laws banning the shackling of incarcerated women and protecting the parental rights of incarcerated mothers and fathers. She is author of Reproductive Injustice: the State of Reproductive Health Care for Women in New York State Prisons (2015) and a member of the pilot cohort for the NoVo Foundation’s Move to End Violence initiative to end violence against women and girls.
Annie Whitford graduated from Pitzer College in May 2015 with a BA in organizational behavior studies, and dance performance and choreography. Since then she has been living in Brooklyn, working as a digital product manager at Casper Sleep, Inc., as a grant writer and volunteer coordinator at Reentry Rocks, and as a volunteer server at various Just Soul Catering events. Annie has extensive experience leading workshops and studying inside prisons in California and New York. Inside prisons, she is passionate about dance as a form of healing, and outside prison as a form of education and a catalyst for activism. Most importantly, she values creativity and the arts as powerful tools for change.
Re-Entry Rocks Services:
• DV Counseling / Crisis Counseling
• Case Management
• Support Groups
• Anger Management
• Creative Arts Program
• Housing Assistance / Advocacy
• Just Soul Catering Internship Program
Re-Entry Rocks Giving Program
Re-Entry Rocks Giving Program was designed by returning citizens for their peers upon release and for those left behind, who have no family, friends or support.
The Re-Entry Rocks Giving program:
The Re-Entry Rocks Giving program gets a generated list that identifies a specific group of women that are sentenced to more than five years and have no visits or packages. The focus will be to provide these women with packages on Mother’s Day, Christmas, and their birthdays.
To make this possible we are partnering with faith-based organizations and the community at large.
All donations are tax deductible and upon request we will provide confirmation of your generosity.
If you are interested in helping women coming home from prison and those left behind please contact our staff at Reentryrocks@gmail.com or call for more information at 201-371-3066.
Thank you, Sharon Richardson, President/Founder.
Creative Arts Program:
• Theatre workshops/productions
• Dance group Sentenced To Dance
• Fix My Life special arts program
• Intensive support group - S.H.A.P.E
(Spirit, Heart, Abilities, Personality, Experience)
Culinary Internship Program:
Learn More >>>
Just Soul Catering Internship Culinary Program model
The Just Soul Catering internship culinary program model is designed to teach and give hands-on experience to formerly incarcerated women coming home from prison. Our focus is to make everyone’s journey a success story and so we are sensitive to the individual learning styles of our participants. This internship is an elective of Reentry Rocks with a goal of helping women become financially independent while learning communication skills, entrepreneurial skills, food handling skills and more. Executive Director and CEO Sharon Richardson is passionate about helping formerly incarcerated women achieve financial independence and so she has passionately developed, through her own journey and experience, a program that will help women find the confidence and success that she has found through Just Soul Catering. This program has three phases to a 9 month course. One must complete all three phases to graduate. A certificate is given at levels one and two and a formal letter from the CEO is given in phase three.
For well over two decades, Anne Patterson, LMSW has worked alongside survivors of intimate partner violence in an effort to raise awareness of the epidemic of violence against women, educate others about domestic violence, and transform the rhetoric and institutions that sustain gender-based violence. Anne has worked across the country in multiple domestic violence shelters, within the child welfare system, and extensively within the criminal legal system. Anne is currently the Director of STEPS to End Family Violence (STEPS). STEPS is a small and mighty anti-violence organization that provides robust clinical, advocacy, and supportive services to survivors of intimate partner with an intentional commitment to supporting survivors within spaces and institutions where their survival is systematically ignored primarily criminalized survivors. Anne was recently selected to be a member of the New York City Domestic Violence Taskforce Steering Committee and was honored by First Lady Chirlaine McCray as one of the City’s sixteen most inspiring leaders working to end gender-based violence.
Rhonda D. Drakes (Covington)
Rhonda Drakes (Covington) was just 21 years old when she was sent to prison. During the 20 years she was incarcerated at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, she earned her Associate's Degree in 1988, Bachelor's Degree in 1990, and Master's Degree in 2001. Rhonda’s time behind bars was a time of transformation where she built relationships and found a new sense of meaning in her life. After returning home, she went back inside to Taconic Correctional Facility to facilitate therapeutic groups where she encouraged incarcerated women to not be afraid to make choices that governed their lives. Since she has been home she has worked in the administrative field where she oversaw accounts, purchases, contracts and distribution of funds. As a feminist and advocate, Rhonda currently works at STEPS to End Family Violence, a domestic violence agency, where she hopes to make a difference in someone else’s life.
CONTACT US TODAY! (718) 913-1885
Official Staff Members
Advisory Board Members
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Reentry Rocks is committed to developing and providing programs that support successful reentry from prison. Your contribution will help us strengthen the lives of women coming homes, thus strengthening our communities, one rock at a time.
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