PDT Staff Writer
Inmates at the Lewis County (Ky.) Detention Center are participating in a program called, “Promising Futures Entrepreneurial Education Program,” sponsored by the Center For Appalachian Philanthropy, based in Portsmouth. The goal of the program is to help provide a brighter future for inmates upon their release.
“The inmates have been engaged in the training program since Sept. 17. They have been learning woodworking trades and related business applications. The detention center serves a population of individuals who have been incarcerated for lower-classed offenses,” said Mandy Hart, executive director of the program.
According to Hart, since starting the classes the inmates have gained an understanding of various aspects of woodworking, how to use tools, and related equipment.
“They have been instructed in the basics of business management and marketing. Having this experience will prepare them to establish small businesses, giving them an edge in a competitive job market that often has limited opportunities for those with a criminal record,” Hart said. “Over the past several months, they have made a range of wood products that will be on display and available for sale to the public. These items include chests, trunks, ornaments and small wooden boxes that make excellent gift choices this holiday season. Proceeds from the sales of their products go back into the program to purchase materials and supplies to continue educational activities.”
She said the inmates work is currently on display at the Made in Appalachia store located at 513 Second St., in Portsmouth, and will be there until Dec. 1. Then on Saturday, Dec. 8, items will be displayed at the Made in Appalachia store located at 948 Fourth Ave., in Huntington, W.Va.; and from Dec. 13 - 16, items will be displayed at the Holiday Showcase in the George Morgan Thomas House, 310 Third St., in Vanceburg, Ky.
“These are good guys, they just traveled down the wrong road and are ready to put their lives back together. They have families who support them and look forward to their release. We believe this training secures a promising future for them. We welcome the community to see their work during the showcases and hope many of the unique, hand crafted items end up under Christmas trees this holiday season,” Hart said.
For more information about the program, visit www.appaphil.com.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org.