Yesterday (November 16, 2023) marked a significant milestone for 20 resilient women who graduated from the Women in Recovery (WIR) program, a transformative program by Family & Children’s Services. As these women excitedly walked across the stage to accept their diplomas from District Judge Michelle B. Keely at the OSU-Tulsa campus, the graduates carried with them powerful stories of triumph over addiction and incarceration.
Among the graduates were mothers and grandmothers responsible for the well-being of 44 children and 15 grandchildren. Their journey to this accomplishment was nothing short of extraordinary, collectively overcoming 312 years of addiction. Mimi Tarrasch, Chief WIR Program Officer, expressed profound pride, recognizing the immense obstacles these women conquered on their path to recovery.
“We could not be prouder of these women,” Tarrasch exclaimed. “They have overcome so much to get where they are today, and defeated obstacles that most of us can only imagine.”
The celebration was not just a recognition of academic achievement but a testament to resilience and the strength of the human spirit. All new graduates are not only gainfully employed but have also been successfully reunited with their children, embodying the program’s holistic approach to recovery and family reunification.
The diversity of accomplishments among the graduates showcased the program’s commitment to providing multifaceted support. Three graduates engaged in the Central Tech Welding program, one earned her GED, another completed the OSU-Tulsa Fiber Optics program, while two others underwent Peer Recovery Support Specialist training. Additionally, two women secured their CNC Machining licenses through Tulsa Tech, illustrating the program’s dedication to equipping participants with diverse skill sets for a successful reentry into society.
The ceremony, attended by parents, children, family members, co-workers, and friends, resonated with the spirit of triumph and hope. Zoom connectivity allowed family members unable to attend in person to share in the joyous occasion.
“These women are excited for the lifetime membership to aftercare resources like therapy, housing, employment, and sisterhood,” Tarrasch said, emphasizing the program’s commitment to sustained support beyond graduation.
The success of the Women in Recovery program has garnered recognition beyond local boundaries. Nicholas Kristof from The New York Times attended and spoke during the ceremony stating,
“And so I’ve been looking around the country for what kind of better choices we can make. And I’ve got to say that America has tried all kinds of different approaches to addiction, everything from the war on drugs and mass arrests to decriminalization, and frankly, nothing has worked perfectly. But the best program I know of anywhere in America is Women in Recovery right here (in Tulsa, OK).”
As these graduates embark on a new chapter of their lives, their stories serve as beacons of hope and inspiration, demonstrating that with the right support and determination, overcoming addiction and incarceration is not only possible but achievable. The ceremony was not just a conclusion but a commencement of a brighter, more promising future for these women and their families.
“The best program I know of anywhere in America is Women in Recovery right here (in Tulsa, OK).” – Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times.