Two years ago Tracy Turner, 46, and Desarae Norgard, 29, were both addicts and heading to prison for a decade for manufacturing methamphetamine.
Today, both women are sober, reunited with their children, productive members of society and proud Women in Recovery (WIR) graduates. WIR is a bold, nationally-recognized, prison diversion program offered by Family & Children’s Services in partnership with the George Kaiser Family Foundation. The intensive outpatient program offers trauma and substance abuse treatment, workforce readiness training, family reunification services while working to break the cycle of generational incarceration.
Tracy recalls her life before WIR saying, “I used to pray saying, ‘Get me out of this world and show me something else’”. That something else proved to be a life free of addiction and the opportunity to start again which includes employment opportunities. Tracy and Desarae work on the production line, side by side, with eight other WIR graduates at S&R Compression, a Tulsa-based gas compressor fabricator and sales company.
Christy Sanders, S&R Compression Business Manager, explains her decision to open the door for these women when WIR came knocking about establishing an employment partnership. “All companies want good employees and strive to find excellent employees. The WIR graduates have something very big to lose. They have been to the bottom and they are not going back,” she said.
For Tracy and Desarae, jobs at S&R Compression represent security, both financially and psychologically. “It’s another built in support system,” Desarae said.
Christy says WIR graduates are an investment other companies should consider. “The decisions you make on this side of the desk change lives,” she said. “These ladies feel like the company has given them a second chance, but from where I sit, we are part of something great. “