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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Women Veterans Reaching Out to Women Veterans at Purdy and Mission Creek

Sharon Kirkpatrick, a woman veteran and active veterans advocate, understands how important it is to plan for success.  That’s why she has dedicated monthly time since March 2012 to help women in prison plan for their release.
While teaching Interaction Transition classes at Purdy, Sharon Kirkpatrick asked the women about their employment experiences.

Sharon Kirkpatrick, President
WA Women Veterans Advisory Committee 

“Out of a class of 20 women, three reported their only employment had been in the military,” said Kirkpatrick, president of the Washington Women Veterans Advisory Committee. “That’s when it dawned on me – there were women veterans in Purdy.”
Kirkpatrick was inspired to do more to help these women veterans and began working with the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs and the Washington Corrections Center for Women. 

With the help of these agencies a small group of women veterans were identified at both Purdy and Mission Creek.  Kirkpatrick quickly established a monthly visit with the women at both facilities, along with partners from other outreach agencies, including Pioneer Human Services’ Julie Lord and VA VISN 20’s Diana Rogers.
Working as a team, they have been identifying how they can better help incarcerated women veterans connect to veteran resources more easily.
Thanks to the outreach from Kirkpatrick and the Incarcerated Women Veterans Project, five women veterans have been directly served upon release and are receiving benefits including housing and health care.
An interesting note: A recent story about a peer-mentoring group at the Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women highlighted inmate Rosemary Pargoud as she led a session under the prison’s Women’s Legacy program. Pargoud is an honorably discharged Army veteran, and is also involved in the veterans group at Mission Creek.

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