The College and Community Fellowship’s Programs for Women

By Christopher Zoukis

As incarceration rates among women increase, the College and Community Fellowship (CCF) of New York has determined to respond with gender-based programming that helps provide access to higher education for women.  CCF’s programs and partners also help women released from prison find housing and other services they need in order to help them find success in the their lives post prison.  The programs offered by CCF have seen recidivism rates reduced by half among their participants and, to date, they have helped women earn forty-six Associate degrees, 120 Bachelor degrees, sixty-one Master’s degrees, and one PhD. Image courtesy www.dildaymeyer.com

Introduction to CCF’s Programs

Founded in 2000, CCF developed a platform to help women who have been incarcerated change their lives through access to higher education.  Their program is quite unique because it is a multifaceted approach.  Founders understood that mere access to college isn’t enough; they realized that participants required other services to support their educational goals.  Along with programming designed to help women attend state and city colleges, there are programs designed to help women obtain important life skills like financial literacy and learn the importance of networking, for instance.  Mentoring and meeting as a community of women is also an essential component of CCF’s platform.  Their program is far from other re-entry programs that offer short-term assistance.  CCF is helping to dramatically change impoverished and previously incarcerated women’s lives to decrease the likelihood of a return to prison and to enhance the lives of participating women for the better.

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