Founded in 1982, this 501-c-3 organization has been decades ahead of others in recognizing the need to create re-entry programs and rehabilitation programs in prison. Because 98% of inmates will return to their communities, the curriculum focuses on helping them to learn together how to become successful returning citizens who are prepared to succeed outside the walls.
Co-founders SuEllen Fried, a mental health activist from the Kansas City area, and Greg Musselman, an inmate with a life sentence, focused on creating a curriculum for rehabilitation programs in prison to help members examine the roots of violence and its impact on themselves and their loved ones. They used probing questions in the Blue Book to examine issues ranging from domestic violence and child abuse, to anger management and forgiveness.
For 33 years, this all-volunteer program has operated without state or federal funds. Volunteers are trained and attend the weekly sessions in every prison in Kansas, and three in North Carolina.
A board of directors leads the organization. In 2014, the first full time executive director was hired to assist the growth of the organization after SuEllen Fried was featured on the CBS Evening News.
An evidence-based program, Courage to Change creates curriculum for re-entry programs and is in every prison in Kansas and several in North Carolina. The Board of Directors intends to expand the program to other states and to the federal prison system.
Board of Directors:
President: Jason Miles
Vice President of Reentry Services: Sam Jones
Vice President of Development: Janet Payne
Vice President of Program Fidelity: Greg Winship
Secretary: Marti Resch
Treasurer: Joyce McInerney
President Emeritus and Co-Founder: SuEllen Fried
Members: Phyllis Stevens, Jami Pryor, Rachel Mahoney, Bebe Kemper, Brandon Cady