For incarcerated individuals on the cusp of being reintroduced to general society, the prospect of life on the outside can induce both apprehension and fear. Even though they have served their sentences and have earned a second chance at freedom, these individuals are often unequipped by our institutions with the skills and resources necessary to have a fighting chance at being productive members of society. Too often they have no home to return to, let alone any family or friends who can offer adequate assistance. In such a situation, it’s too easy to feel there is no hope. But thanks to organizations such as Inn From The Storm, there is always hope.
Inn From The Storm is a non-profit organization that assists formerly incarcerated women returning home with supportive service needs. Through a comprehensive ex-offenders re-entry program tailored to each client, this Olive Link business works to reduce recidivism in Missouri while providing some of our society’s most vulnerable members with a second chance. This goal is achieved through use of various programs relating to the following areas:
- Employment services
- Vocational training
- Interview skills
- Job placement
- Community service
- GED assistance
- Healthcare assessment
- Mental health counseling
- Transitional Housing
Owner and founder Sandi Colquitt decided to open Inn From The Storm after an experience with her aunt, who was previously incarcerated. As her prison sentence approached its end, Sandi’s aunt contacted her seeking assistance with critical matters such as housing and employment. Working with her aunt gave Sandi a personal appreciation for the struggles of these women and the startling lack of assistance the system provides. Thanks to her first-hand experience in working with her aunt both inside and outside of prison, Sandi has crafted an effective process approaching and aiding women who can benefit from Inn From The Storm’s program.
“My organization goes into various prisons and gives presentations on our programs to women who are approximately six months from being released,” says Sandi. “After learning about what working with Inn From The Storm will be like, the women can approach me for personal assessments regarding their needs. This is a critical component of the process, since these women are first and foremost individuals, and no two situations are exactly alike.”
Sandi is uniquely equipped for working with such a vulnerable population. She studied healthcare administration and management at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and the experience provided her with a bedrock perspective on the complexities of caring for those in need. Her past professional experience includes working with a non-profit dedicated to overseeing education and testing services for people living with HIV/AIDS. A 30-year resident of University City, Sandi also previously served on the city council for 12 years and represented the individual and collective needs of countless U City residents. This personal connection to U City played a large role in Sandi’s decision to locate Inn From The Storm in the Olive Link.
“Everybody knows U City; it’s the central connection between St. Louis City and St. Louis County,” Sandi says. “And locating in the Olive Link is very beneficial, because the central location and public transportation make it easy for my clients to reach me.”
As a community that is distinct for its charitable residents and non-profit sector, University City is the perfect home for Inn From The Storm. The Olive Link is an especially symbolic home for the organization. After pulling through some tough economic times, the corridor is now an up-and-coming destination that grows in recognition and activity with each passing year. In a similar vein, although the women who work with Inn From The Storm have faced some very difficult life circumstances, working with this unique organization will help them take back control of their lives and show them that that their best years lie ahead
7584 Olive. Blvd., Ste 205
University City, MO 63130