A Longmont organization that’s dedicated to helping people after incarceration has recently received a grant to offer holistic health and wellness services.
The Reentry Initiative received $40,000 through the Colorado Community Health Alliance - Region 6 — a local Medicaid program that provides Community Incentive Program funding each year to recipients.
“They wanted to look for organizations in Boulder County that would help reduce the health disparities between populations,” said Emily Kleeman, The Rentry Initiative’s executive director.
“Our organization — being that we treat criminal justice involved individuals — we wanted to go after this funding because our population is very much disenfranchised.”
Those who’ve been incarcerated often don’t have the same level of access to mental, behavioral and physical health resources as the rest of the population, Kleeman said.
“The barriers are pretty much the same that you always hear — lack of transportation, being too far away from facilities, not having the money or resources or insurance to go to these better places for treatment,” she explained. “And then on top of that, you know, the compounded criminal justice aspect.”
The Community Incentive Program grant will provide the organization’s members with holistic wellness to treat them for substance abuse, mental health trauma and related issues, she said.
“Our approach is to not only treat the trauma, but start exposing our members to different activities and ways to be healthy and well, which means physical exercise, attention to diet, adequate sleep — also getting them into more communities where they can have positive experiences.”
The funding will go to nutrition classes, grocery store gift cards, yoga classes, fitness instruction, gym memberships, dance classes and a partnership with Sound Well Music Therapy, Kleeman said.
“Our members are going to be able to take music classes — you don’t have to have any experience with instruments at all … it’s just a different expressive arts therapy for our members to express their feelings and work through challenges in their lives,” she explained.
The grant is expected to provide health and wellness services to more than 60 people, she said.
The Reentry Initiative, at 402 Kimbark Street in Longmont, was created in 2016. The organization is one of 19 reentry programs across Colorado that support parolees.