Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Inside Out

Women Helping Women



The Woman 2 Woman program began three years ago as part of the Bedford Presbyterian Church ministry and has grown to include members from other houses of worship and faiths. Shown are Nancy Gernert, Sue Groner, and Laura Kaplan.

Photos by Rana Faure

It is difficult to imagine life inside the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, where scores of women have had no contact with outside world for years, even decades. “Everyone needs someone in their life to be a presence for them,” says Nancy Gernert of Pound Ridge, who heads up Woman 2 Woman, a Bedford Presbyterian Church ministry started three years ago to address that situation. “Everyone in the program has a different relationship with their inmates. Some just go, sit, and listen. Some become real friends. These women have suffered such trauma and knowing that someone cares gives them a sense of dignity.

“Growing up in the area, I was always aware of the prison,” Gernert continues. “When I would drive by, I would think of the women inside—how many of them were mothers, how were they coping with their lives. Now, after getting to know some of them, I’ve been blown away by how intelligent they are. It was a real eye-opener to find out we have more in common than we ever imagined.”

For example, one of the inmates Gernert visits is her age and has five kids, to Gernert’s four. “I have visited Sally* every two weeks for the past three years and she means a great deal to me.” One of the most touching moments Gernert recalls was when Sally wanted to have a memento of their visits. “An inmate in the visiting center will take a Polaroid picture for $2. It doesn’t sound like much, but for a prisoner earning 12 or 13 cents an hour, it’s a huge expense. I was honored that I meant that much to her.” Indeed, Sally considers Gernert’s visits as “God’s answer to my prayers.”

Susan Groner of Bedford once had preconceived notions about what constituted a criminal, but feels less judgmental after spending time with the inmates. “I used to drive past the complex all the time, and to me, it was just a prison,” she says. “These women all made a mistake, but they are wise in their own ways and have a different perspective on life. They are paying their dues and trying to better their lives for when they are released.” 

One time-honored path to a better life is the continuing education program within the prison, an incredible deal at just $5 a semester. When Groner’s inmate received her GED, she was invited to the graduation ceremony. “I got to meet all Jane’s* friends, some of whom were getting their associate or bachelor degrees. They were so supportive of each other and everyone was cheering. It was so heartwarming—the one day where they could feel proud of themselves.”

Katonah resident Laura Kaplan felt lucky to have been matched with someone close to the age of her own children. “My four children lead independent lives now so it was rewarding to step back into that role. I remember on the first day, Karen* just needed someone to vent to, someone to be there for her. Now that I have been visiting for three years, I can’t imagine her not in my life. I even take my kids to visit her. She really opened up when she met them and wanted to know all about their experiences with college, careers, their social lives. It’s been a mutually beneficial relationship for all of us.”

Once, when asked what the program has meant to her over the years, Karen replied: “Three words come to me: light, because your visits are like a breath of fresh air; hope, because I can envision opportunities when I get out; and gold, because there is so much value in seeing a loving family like yours. It is something I can aspire to when I am released.”

Clearly, a ministry mission accomplished.

*Names of inmates have been changed to protect their privacy. 

 

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

             

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Catch the Vibe Newsletter

See this weekend's events in the area!
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Trees for Good

Where to get your tree in the Bedford area

Bedford Shout Outs––Holidays 2018

This, that, and other things

Bedford Out & About - Dec

Upstairs Downstairs

Bernard’s and Sarah’s Wine Bar serve excellent food in both an elegant and casual setting

Where do competitive equestrians train in winter?

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

January 2019

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

The Imagination Movers are a rock band for families and the Emmy-winning stars of a hit TV series seen worldwide on the Disney Junior channel. There are 76 episodes of "Imagination Movers...

Cost: $22.50 - $70.00

Where:
Wall StreetTheater
71 Wall Street
Norwalks, CT  06850
View map »


Sponsor: Wall Street Theater
Telephone: (203) 831-5004
Contact Name: Jeanne Moore
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Make some snow slime using glue, fake snow, and liquid starch!Ages 7 and olderRegistration Required - 914-864-0130Sponsored by the Friends of the LibraryLocation of event - downstairs in the kids...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Sponsor: Friends of the Library
Telephone: 914-666-8041

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

With the New Year and cold winter months officially upon us (and quite possibly a few viruses floating around), learn how essential oils can help boost your immunity.  Participants will make a...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Telephone: 914-666-8041

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Learn to make earrings while helping a good cause.For every pair of earrings you make, make another pair that will be donated to a battered women's shelter.Sponsored by the Friends of the...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Sponsor: Friends of the Library
Telephone: 914-666-8041

More information

The Bruce Museum is pleased to present two special presentations that will provide fascinating insights into breakthroughs in the field of medicine in the nineteenth century – and how these...

Cost: Museum members and students with ID free; nonmembers $15

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Drop in for help with any of your technology devices.  No appointment necessary.  First come first served.   PC, Google, Microsoft savvy volunteer with help you with troubleshooting,...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Telephone: 914-666-8041

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Celebrate Penguin Awareness Day (January 20th) by creating an adorable penguin of your own! Ages 4 to 11 (under 5 with caregiver) Sponsored by the Friends of the Library Location of event -...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Sponsor: Friends of the Library
Telephone: 914-666-8041

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Hartford Boat Show (HBS50) features the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, deck and pontoon boats, sport and...

Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

Where:
Expo Center at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville, CT  06382
View map »


Sponsor: Connecticut Marine Trades Association
Telephone: 860-767-2645
Contact Name: Kathleen Burns
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Do you have a startup you’re trying to get off the ground? Are you thinking about starting your own business? Are you a solopreneur who’s trying to do it all? Everyone needs a...

Cost: no charge with one-day pass or membership

Where:
Martin House Workspace
69 Westchester Avenue
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Martin House Workspace
Telephone: 914-764-3128
Contact Name: Erin Trostle

More information

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Hartford Boat Show (HBS50) features the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, deck and pontoon boats, sport and...

Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

Where:
Expo Center at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville, CT  06382
View map »


Sponsor: Connecticut Marine Trades Association
Telephone: 860-767-2645
Contact Name: Kathleen Burns
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Hartford Boat Show (HBS50) features the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, deck and pontoon boats, sport and...

Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

Where:
Expo Center at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville, CT  06382
View map »


Sponsor: Connecticut Marine Trades Association
Telephone: 860-767-2645
Contact Name: Kathleen Burns
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags