Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Simple Request for an Act of Kindness for Michelle

It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails.  -Nelson Mandela 

In one of Frank Baum's Oz books, Dorothy winds up in prison in Oz and is treated to luxury, kindness and warm cookies. When she asks why, the guard says, "Why would we treat people meanly when we want them to be kind?" The prison system in the U.S. often runs counter to this notion of kindness and rehabilitation.

I have been corresponding with women being held in the Ohio Reformatory for Women since July 2009. I traveled to Maryville, Ohio, to interview some of the women there who had participated in a special quilt exhibit, Beyond the Barrier, at Sacred Threads. I have watched as these women have grown and made life changes. Many of the women, including Michelle, made bad choices especially with the men they married which is why they are incarcerated. Michelle is going through an especially tough time right now. I am hoping that you will take a moment and send her a store bought card or even one of your holiday cards. Don't include anything handmade. If you want to include something, include a postage paid envelope and no, you can't send an envelope with a stamp on it. If you do, it will get thrown away and possibly get her in trouble. I think knowing that people care makes a huge difference. Don't expect that you will hear back from her unless you send an envelope. She is paid less than a dollar an hour, must pay for her own medications (she has several health issues) and things like socks, winter coats, etc. Thanks.

Michelle Owens 57937
Ohio Reformatory for Women Rgl 209T
1479 Collins Ave
Marysville, OH 43040-8808


  1. You are so dear to care so much, Karen! We work with a group here in Oregon, where we raise and donate funds for a woman's prison. The program can take 13, or maybe 15, woman in one year. Lots of security etc. for the teachers who go in, but when the woman are able to leave, they have a sewing machine, fabric and supplies, skills with sewing and quilting, and have usually had their work be placed in one, to many, quilt shows. Some of the their work has been extraordinary as getting into the program meant a lot to them. The quilts they make..the first one has to be given to a cause, the second one they may keep. I bet this one is similar. Writing down her address. This time of year, emails and cards needs are filled with reminders to keep in touch with those that suffer from the pull of the winter's darkness. My mother passed in September and holding onto the light is big for me right now! Light and love to you so that you may continue to share it with others! Happy Holi-days to you, dear one!

    1. Embracing the light within you! Unfortunately, there is no program at ORW. The Sacred Threads project was a one time deal. While the women got to keep their quilts, it meant either paying to have it shipped or put into storage. I am truly sorry for the loss of you mom. Lots of love to you!


Love comments! Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.