Susie Instantly Connects with Resolana and Helps Women Find Hope After Incarceration

After spending years volunteering with a local hospital, Susie Carter was looking for a new opportunity. She found it while attending a church service where guest speaker Jennifer McNabb spoke about Resolana. Carter sought an organization where she felt an instant connection, and after hearing McNabb, she knew she had to learn more about Resolana.

Resolana, a program of Volunteers of America Texas, provides gender-specific programming to female offenders. Support begins inside the Dallas County Jail and continues as the women re-enter the community. Volunteers and Resolana staff members help female offenders use their time in custody to learn skills and acquire resources to help them re-integrate into the lives of their children, families and communities.

“I met Jennifer at the Dallas County Jail to check out one of the Resolana creativity classes,” said Carter. “I was supposed to call my husband to let him know I made it there okay, but I was so caught up in everything I forgot to call. He was a little upset with me, but when I walked in the door that night he saw my face and knew it was an instant love affair.”

Since that day almost two years ago, Carter has volunteered for Resolana’s Seeking Safety and creativity programs, as well as other areas. Outside of volunteering, she is a talented photographer and her passion for photography led to a special connection with a woman in the Resolana program.

“I met Sarah in a safety class,” she said. “We formed a bond, and when she was leaving for prison we agreed to be pen pals. I printed one of my photographs on a card for her, and she looked at me and said, ‘Did you know I was a professional event photographer before I went to jail?’”

Their pen-pal relationship has blossomed, and both women continue to make new discoveries about themselves through their friendship. “She has taught me an awful lot about gratitude,” Carter said. “Every time I visit Resolana, I am always amazed at the wisdom I gain from the women. It’s a two-way street for the women and volunteers. We learn from each other.”

Carter believes that programs like Resolana are critical for breaking the cycle of incarceration – so much so that she and her husband made donations to Resolana in the names of their friends and family for Christmas. “Resolana is helping these women believe in themselves and that they can change,” she added. “

She plans to continue helping the women once they are released from jail; however, she’s worried they can easily return to destructive habits if they can’t find work. To help this effort, Carter is working with Resolana and Volunteers of America to sell her photography and contribute the proceeds to a scholarship fund in the future that will help Resolana women gain education or training that enables them to get a job and take care of themselves and their families.

To learn more about Susie’s photography, contact Loleetta Maye, Resolana Volunteer Coordinator at (214) 827 – 2500 ext. 1510 or lmaye@voatx.org.