I was inspired at the SAFE Housing Network Conference
I am a Peer Support Specialist at the Friends Association for Care & Protection of Children, and my name is Yulanda Myers. More specifically, I apply my Certified Recovery Specialist &, Certified Family Recovery Specialist skills at NIA House located in Coatesville, PA. NIA House is a SAFE housing program run by Friends Association and was created for women impacted by incarceration. As our women heal, rebuild, and reconnect to the community, I am here to support and guide them along the way.
Last August, I was chosen to fly out to Los Angeles California for three days, to Join the Sisterhood Alliance for Freedom & Equality (SAFE) Housing Network Conference led by Ms. Susan Burton. I was amazed, inspired, and honored by Ms. Burton’s vision, and how she freely gave of herself to all of us. All of us in that great big conference center felt like a sisterhood, there for the same purpose, which was to learn and workshop the best practices of creating a SAFE environment for formally incarcerated women, with the goal of establishing a safe place to nurture the healing process of their trauma. This safe place wouldn’t be a facility but a home evolving into a family, with support, caring, and concern for their well-being, and also, a place to empower them and celebrate their capabilities and achievements. Simply, a home where lost dreams awaken, and new possibilities arise. As Ms. Burton shared her experiences, strength, and hope, at the conference, it touched my spirit. I heard stories that brought tears to my eyes and felt so comfortable at times, I allowed the tears to freely fall.
One day at the conference, I was invited to visit the guests at Ms. Burton’s SAFE Houses that she started in California. Seeing this programming in action was incredibly uplifting, and I was captivated as each woman took turns to share their story. Hearing those stories that afternoon, solidified that Ms. Burton’s SAFE Housing model worked. I watched how the women interacted with each other and how they took pride in their beautiful homes. I saw positivity, gratitude, self-love, and self-worth shining brightly in their eyes. Ms. Burton is a trailblazer that had the vision to serve, educate, and change the narrative and create one SAFE house at a time. Not long after attending the conference, Friends Associations’ NIA House became an official member of Susan Burton’s SAFE Housing network, and I could not be more proud to serve our neighbors as their Peer Support Specialist.
– by Yulanda Myers, Peer Support Specialist at Friends Associations’ Nia House