Name of Nonprofit Organization: Running Free Alaska (RFA)
Project Name: Bridging the Gap to Sustainability
Your Name: Kristen Anderson
Short Project Description:
This project helps Running Free Alaska purchase shoes and sports bras for incarcerated women participating in our running programs at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center.
The Big Why:
This project targets women incarcerated at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center. The grant funds requested in this proposal will make equipment available to inmate runners to participate and RFA’s training programs and races. Past history tells us that our inmate runners are better able to self-regulate their mental health issues and many have been able to reduce or end their use of mental health medications. Nationally, the Department of Justice estimates that 71% of inmates in state prisons suffer from some form of mental illness and of those 74% have a co-occurring disorder of substance dependence or a abuse (2006 data). Additionally, female inmates with mental illness were 3 times more likely to have a history of physically or sexual trauma.
RFA has experienced amazing growth in it’s first 3 years. From a small grass-roots start-up with only 25 participants and 3 volunteers, we have expanded to provide services to approximately 150 inmates per year. Additionally, we now have a roster of 15 talented volunteer coaches overseen by a paid training coordinator. The Alaska Women’s Giving Circle is one of our original funding partners and we are proud of the faith you put in us from the beginning. In 2015 our board has laid out an aggressive growth strategy that includes a community awareness 5k fun run, launching of a new website, and development of a transitional program to assist our runners as they adjust to life outside the prison walls. Financial support is critical for us this year as we bridge the gap from start-up to sustainability.