On May 4, 2017, I found myself in courtroom three of the Scott County Justice Center. I had waited for more than two hours to support a former student, then incarcerated, for his turn in front of the judge. I was devastated that someone barely old enough to drink alcohol was facing more than 100 months in prison…for the second time. While I waited, I witnessed person after person, with mental health issues, life struggles, and substance abuse concerns pass in front of the judge. Some cried, some chose to execute their sentence, some waved at their significant other; I was hooked. I was also spurred to act.
Later, in the same month, I was extended the opportunity to attend a faith-based service in the Shakopee Women’s Prison with my church. I jumped at the chance, and that opportunity lead to the next. I began to volunteer in the Scott County Jail, nearly every Friday morning, for three years (and hope to return as soon as Covid-19 restrictions are loosened).
Those Friday mornings were some of the sweetest, and most challenging times I have had personally. Woman after woman, Friday after Friday, facing trauma, further incarceration, substance abuse, family concerns, financial issues, and job loss, all sat together to talk about recovery. How do we get our life back?
The invisible string that weaved the women together was two-fold. The first was the desire to recover (or perhaps discover) their identity and purpose…to find hope. The second was neglect. Many women have been physically and emotionally neglected. In turn, they have neglected to address their chemical and mental health concerns, and often lack the resources, community, and family support to do so effectively. They require a safe place to land, receive support, and community. Guild offers all these supports.
I have supported Guild’s efforts financially for two years and will continue to do so because of the essential work they do. Guild’s services are truly a matter of life and death for many clients. To say that I was overjoyed at the opening of Guild’s mental health facility in Scott County was an understatement and I have since referred a few acquaintances there. I look forward to many more years of partnership.
Katie Moras founded El Bosque Encantado in 2013, has guided EBE to become a leader in Spanish Immersion education. Her combined background as a secondary Spanish teacher and a Human Resources professional have made Katie well equipped to adapt to the changing needs of both business and education.
Katie has a Master of Arts in Teaching from Hamline University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota, as well as a K-12 teaching license in the State of Minnesota.
When she’s not working, Katie loves to spend time with her husband and their four children, on their farm in Prior Lake, where they raise chickens and ride horses. Katie also is passionate about volunteerism and teaches in Scott County Jail and ministers to women inmates in the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Shakopee.