The Hartwell Sun ran a story about our work at Whitworth Women’s Facility on May 15, 2014. It cannot be accessed without a paid subscription, however, we were granted permission to include it here:
Whitworth Inmates Getting a Second Chance
by Lake Morris
Most of the inmates at Whitworth Women’s Facility are looking for a second chance when they get out. Linary Kingdon wants to make sure they have that chance.
Kingdon is the executive director and founder of Achieve Greater Success, a non-profit organization that aims to promote skills for healthy living for inmates.
“I am just passionate about helping empower women to be better mothers,” Kingdon said. “These women that we work with, they aren’t bad people. They are women that either made a mistake or just got hit with some bad luck. I want to help give them a chance to get on the right path while here, and take what they learn once they get out.”
The non-profit has been in existence since A pril 2010, but the seed for the idea was planted in 2002 when Kingdon was teaching third grade in Darien.
“A lot of the students I had needed more help than I could give them. I kept wishing for a way to do after-school tutoring, but I didn’t have the resources,” she said.
After a 2005 stop in Sandy Springs as an English-as-a-second-language (ESOL) teacher, Kingdon began work on building funds and getting the beginnings of Achieve Greater Success off the ground, and in 2010, she filed her 501(c)3 non-profit status paperwork.
Leaving the schoolhouse to work in a prison wasn’t new. Kingdon had experience working in a corrections institution since 1997, when she was an evening computer lab supervisor at the Oregon State Correctional Institution.
Most recently, she worked with the Georgia Corrections Deparment from January 2013 to April of this year.
One of the main tenants for the program is helping women with their General Education Development (GED) or their Adult Basic Education (ABE). The classes are available to non-Performance Incentive Credit (PIC)-eligible inmates. Inmates can earn PIC points and work toward an early release.
But Kingdon didn’t want to only help women get their GED or ABE certificates. She said many of the women also need help with how to turn their life around.
“A lot of times people fall back into old habits once they get out. Either because they think they have no other option, or they have no where to go,” she said.
So Kingdon added healthy living educaiton and effective problem-solving classes as well to the program.
“The point of giving a healthy living education is to first help them live a life free of addiction, abuse and crime,” Kingdon said. “I want to help them have a plan for when they get out, and we try to steer them towards their interests for a career, and possibly look into going to a local technical college to get a post-secondary degree.”
Kingdon added that many have no one to help them when they get out. “They actually have a better support system on the inside than they do on the outside.”
For more information about Achieve Greater Success, visit www.achievegreatersuccess.org.
Donations can be made through PayPal on the website, or donations can be mailed to 190 Meadow Drive, Alpharetta, GA 30009.