WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 133 of 195

good works "it's incredibly rewarding" "I was hooked the minute I taught the first class," says Winig. "Where else am I going to have the potential to change 14 lives in 12 weeks? You're working with them at a time when they are most recep- tive. For an instructor, it's incredibly rewarding." But now as executive director, Winig faces the challenges of group of about 14 inmates per class. Potential students must fill out applications and be in good standing at the institution. However, pro- gram officials strongly recommend that no "good time" be applied toward reducing sentences of those taking the class. Rather, Winig says, the passion and drive to start a business upon release needs to be the primary motivation. The screening also serves to create a better dynamic in the classroom for those volunteering to teach once a week in a setting that, for many, can be quite intimidating the first time, according to Winig. She volunteered to teach after a posting on Craigslist caught her eye while researching prison privatization for a case study she was writing for her job at Harvard Business School. She felt the experience would provide a much needed "inside perspective" to the case study. fundraising and recruiting new volunteers to share their resources and skill set with a largely invisible segment of the population. Brandeis University and Babson College were early supporters and Winig says she is grateful for the growing list of donors and in-kind sponsors who recognize the magnitude of the problem. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in fifteen people in the United States will be incarcerated at some point in their lives. Some 650,000 are released back into the community every year, 67.5 percent of whom will be re-arrested within three years of release. Winig explains that the inability to secure legal employment plays a major role in the high rate of recidivism. Winig acknowledges the problem: "What benefit is there to an employer to hire someone with a felony?" In this fiercely competitive market for even the lowest skilled jobs, those with felony convictions are systematically denied jobs at many companies and institutions top: Laura Winig and Larry Buckley co-teaching an entrepreneurship class to women at South Middlesex Correctional Center. left: Venturing Out graduate Angela Davis has found work as a chef after completing the class and writing a business plan to someday open her own restaurant. 132 WellesleyWeston Magazine | summer 2012 CAITLIN CUNNINGHAM CAITLIN CUNNINGHAM

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