News Sheet | Issue 2

Crossroads Takes on Unemployment Hurdle

One of the big factors to recidivism is economic hardships. This can come in different forms such as poverty, unemployment and poor living conditions. For the majority of formerly incarcerated people in the US, these experiences go hand in hand.

“The unemployment rate of formerly incarcerated people in the US is over 27% – higher than the total US unemployment rate during any historical period, including the Great Depression” ( Women in particular, encounter barriers to securing employment, especially immediately following release. Women who are without jobs but wish to work soon realize that lack of skills prevent them from accomplishing this goal. A limited employment base is another challenge that they encounter when looking for work.

Recognizing the employment challenge, Crossroads, Inc. created Turning Point Staffing Services (TPSS), an employment readiness program. TPSS addresses core competencies integral to women’s successful reentry.

TPSS teaches women computer and financial literacy, job readiness, and provides a venue to practice soft skills such as healthy communication and job interviewing. The results are well-rounded job seekers who meet the minimum requirement for most entry level jobs.

Crossroads women understand that looking for a job means having the foresight to play the long game, as explained in the acronym ABC: Any job, a Better job and then a Career. Many Crossroads women start with entry level jobs and discover their passion along the way. Fueled by that passion, they build careers in various industries after or while pursuing higher education.

It has been said that you educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a women; you educate a generation. It is not just the women but their families and our communities that will reap the positive effects.



Lucius Couloute and Daniel Kopf. July 2018

Employee Focus:

Jackie White, Program Director

Jackie White has been with Crossroads, Inc. for 13 years. As Program Director, she has played a significant role in establishing and implementing Turning Point Staffing Services (TPSS) and its core competencies of Employment Readiness and Life Skills. Jackie works closely with the women of Crossroads, Inc and is an integral part of our success and an inspiration.

Jackie answered a few questions during a brief sit-down session so we can all get to know more about her.

1. What makes your work rewarding?

…when the women become one with the community. At that point, they are making doctors’ appointments and checking their bus books to figure out how to get from point A to point B on time. When I see them using computers and cell phones to retrieve information and become employed, I jump for joy. After mastering these milestones, I know that their level of confidence is through the roof and that they are capable of accomplishing any and everything.

2. Why is it important that women are given a second (third/etc) chance?

Well from what I’ve been told, this country was built on do-overs/second chances. We all make mistakes and I believe we all should have the opportunity to try again until we get it right. I definitely needed those chances… More importantly why should it be different for any of us who have been to prison?

3. Do you consider working with the women of Crossroads as a calling? Why or why not?

I’m not sure… Prior to employment at Crossroads, Inc., I’d made the decision to change my behaviors – meaning addressing my addictions while at Crossroads. After my six-month program, I found that I wanted/needed to become self-sufficient. I was 47 years old, working a minimum wage job and with a GED in my pocket. Based on my history and experiences, I consciously selected “Substance Abuse Counseling” as my career goal thinking that that was what I knew best. From the start, employment at Crossroads, Inc. was a selfish, lifesaving move for me… Today, I share with the women of Crossroads a wealth of experiences and education. Maybe it is or was a calling, I’m still not sure.

4. Pre-COVID, you would bring some of the women and have talks with students at the local schools. Please explain how that is done and what impact you have seen.

To make a long story short after doing a speaking engagement; I received a call from a teacher at one of the local high schools who was in the audience. She expressed her concerns about her students using drugs and their flippant attitudes on the subject. She asked if I would be interested in speaking to her class; if she could get clearance. I said yes, while I waited for conformation; I saw this as win-win opportunity for all concerned. I thought, I’ll bring our women who know a lot about drug use and addictions. I thought this would be a great opportunity for them to be of service to the community, have their voices heard, and become a part of issues that many of them could relate to. We started out speaking to one classroom of students for about an hour… from there it was an all-day speaking engagement in front of 10th, 11th, and 12th graders, teachers included…. In no way was this scared straight kind of talk… it was an evidence-based conversation that erected from our personal experiences that landed us in prison… with a Q&A discussion at the end.

The rewarding part of this is that I live locally and run into these students from time to time. Many of them stop me just to say hi, thank you, and or that they remember me. At the beginning of 2020 just before the 1st COVID lock-down; I was sitting next to a young lady in the nail shop who kept staring at me; when she finally remembered where she knew me from she blurted out I know who you are you spoke at my high school. She went on to tell me that she was home visiting from college, that she was the 1st in her family to go to college, and that her parents were so proud of her. Lastly and surely not least, she informed me that she had tried drugs with friends several times. She confessed that she saw herself changing and our words and experiences began to haunt her – so she got it together. I asked her what happen to her friends she said that they continued to use drugs but were alright…we left it at that.

5. What other projects do you or did you have with schools or businesses that helped boost community engagement? 

On one of our speaking engagements, I notice a couple of formal dresses in the corner of teacher class. I asked what they were for and she informed me that many of the kid’s parents could not afford to buy winter formal dress, prom dress etc. and or the accessories. I told her that Crossroads receives a lot of donations that are not always suitable for our women. I made a commitment with the teacher to collect all formal wear, dress shoes, and jewelry for the girl’s formal events and bring them to the high schools. This project went well until COVID stopped all movement. Through the years we/Crossroads have received many letters thanking us for coming to speak and letting us know how much they appreciated the formal wear. A lot of these letters brought tears to my eyes…

What Is Recidivism?

Oxford Dictionaries: “It is the tendency of a convicted person to reoffend.”

6 Reasons To Tell Your Friends About Crossroads Today

Federal and state governing bodies have departments that address a majority of our social, environmental and economic challenges. For everything else, we have nonprofits. While governmental committees offer to serve some of the more common or obvious issues in society, there are many more that are overlooked. Nonprofits take on the task of creating programs that seek out and address the gaps in services.

But as nonprofits address the needs in the community, they address their need of being sustainable. Donations from private individuals and corporations play a vital role in aiding the nonprofits accomplish their mission. Oftentimes public entities are able to contract with a nonprofit to provide necessary services. However, rarely does a contract cover all the expenses for a service. Volunteerism and fundraising activities are additional avenues to generate funding and strengthen bonds within the community.

In California, many questions and initiatives focus on issues of incarceration. However, questions need to extend to after incarceration and re-entry. For almost 50 years, Crossroads, Inc. has been assisting women transition successfully from prison to independence.

Crossroads asks for your help in spreading awareness about the work they do and what the women accomplish. Here are six reasons to tell your friends:

1. Change lives: While we can consider changing our lives as our responsibility, we become a blessing when we’re able to change someone else’s.  Each of our small acts, collectively, can cause a ripple effect. The more people become invested in our cause, the bigger the impact will be. Sending this to several people in your circle of influence is a great way to begin this journey of helping the women of Crossroads.

2. It takes a village… Crossroads takes the lead in successful reentry into the community for women. The Residential Program guides the women in how to navigate life after incarceration. Oftentimes it is the help of the community via volunteering, fundraising or donation that makes a lasting impression for the women. Sending this to several people in your circle of influence will make it easier for you and your friends to heed the call for support.

3. Purpose: Purpose can change as life changes. This may happen during the times when we feel we have the time, the resources or the energy to live out our purpose. By sharing this with our friends, we may be giving them the opportunity to do the same. When we all feel like what we are doing is worthwhile, it creates inside us a feeling of being in synch with a greater cause than ourselves. When this happens, it can lead to contentment, peace and happiness. It can be the much-needed transformation we have been seeking.

4. Women’s empowerment: When women succeed, our communities are more safe, secure and prosperous. 

5. Be an advocate. Believe in the work of Crossroads, Inc by sharing information with others.

6. Believe in second chances. Crossroads believes that giving a woman another chance provides dignity and allows them to achieve their potential as contributing members in the community. 

Journey with us. Creating a positive change in one woman’s life also brings positive change to her family and the community.

Shawn’s Story: Change

I spent 27 years in prison behind many bad decisions but I am a different person today through my thoughts, hard work, and many self-help groups. It took me at least 15 years to reach a point that I wanted to put that work in. 

My thoughts had to change from “I am here and never going home” to wanting to become a better person that could help others through my experiences. I had the incentive to work hard and take these powerful self-help groups. To not be lazy. To put in the work that would make me much more caring, compassionate, and motivated. Not only to participate but put the information to work in order to help myself. Realize that I have to change  in order to progress. 

Through Narcotics Anonymous (NA), I learned that recovery is an everyday process. In codependence class, I learned that one’s thoughts and needs must focus on self first. You can’t help others if you need help yourself. Through parenting, I realized that one needs that relationship to be nurturing and caring. Through conflict resolution I learned that there were other non-violent ways (to) settle misunderstandings.  

Through all these different groups, much hard work and diligence, I stand before you a new person who understands and works hard to grow as that newer, better person.

Spring 2021 Newsletter

From Where I Sit – Spring 2021

I often think of the plaque in the Harvard House that reads: Home is where the story begins… Reflecting on the past year, I’m realizing in a new way that change is synonymous with beginnings. Every one of us can list the many ways we have had to make changes in our lives over the past year. The pandemic did not take into consideration plans or hopes or obligations. Instead, we had to learn to navigate our lives in spite of it. Now that there seems to be some light on the horizon, my thinking turns specifically to what have I had to do differently? … how has it impacted my life? … my thinking? … do I want to continue and why?

At Crossroads, nothing could be done as it was before, but everything had to continue. Groups continued, but with less staff and volunteers. Coping skills and mental well-being became a constant. Job Search was limited during Stay-At-Home Orders, but employment was found nonetheless. Board and Committee meetings occurred via Zoom. Plans continued for the purchase of a property and the implementation of a new transitional housing program. Virtual became a tangible word in our everyday vocabulary.

We have completed our first virtual fundraiser for Crossroads, Inc. I think it is amazing/inspiring how many participants actually chose to walk whatever number of miles. Face coverings and social distancing did not deter physical participation. It would have been easy for me to virtually walk the 15.8 miles from California Institution for Women to the Harvard House in Claremont or to walk that number of miles over the two-week period. Despite three months of preparation and walking over 175 miles, I would not say that the walk was easy. Somewhere around mile 12, I began questioning the audacity of my commitment to walk it all at once. What got me over the hump was companionship and conversation: welcome distractions and encouragement which helped me push through the tiredness and discomfort. Taking a shortcut along the Metrolink tracks, as we rounded the corner of Lincoln University a welcoming group of supporters were waiting our arrival in the Curtis Realty parking lot. Balloons, signs, and cheers of encouragement and excitement announced that we had “made it.” And together we walked the last .8 mile to the Harvard House. I thought about the many people involved in our Virtual Walk: donors from across the county, and as far away as Ireland and South Africa, the Mile Sponsors, people walking near and far, singly and with others. My initial statement or reason for walking from the prison was to bring attention to the challenges women face walking out of prison. But it was in that last .8 of a mile that we made a much stronger statement together: It takes all of us to create an environment where women are able to face the challenges of leaving prison and learning a new way of life. 

The Tortoise and the Hare

From March 14th until March 28th, Jim Brashler, with the encouragement of his wife, Lenore, walked two blocks each day in support of Crossroads’ Walking Home fundraiser. Given Jim’s current medical challenges, each block measured his courage and commitment to uplifting the beloved community. Lenore encouraged donations in an email entitled, “The Tortoise and the Hare,” comparing the efforts of Jim and Sister Terry Dodge in the virtual walk. Jim, the Tortoise, calculates that he raised over $1,000 for Crossroads.

Both Jim and Lenore have been long-time supporters of the women of Crossroads since returning to Claremont in 2012 and moving to Pilgrim Place. Jim helped to build raised garden beds and has made soul-warming pancakes at the annual Crossroads Easter Breakfast, all at the Harvard House. Lenore has volunteered as the computer technology teacher for the residents, a job that made her think critically about andragogy and technology. Both Jim and Lenore are passionate about criminal justice reform and about the unjust treatment of non-whites in the US.

Jim and Lenore met in high school, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as members of a brass ensemble. Jim played the tuba and Lenore played the French horn. They married, he became a theologian, teaching primarily on the east coast, and they had two children. In retirement, the Brashlers moved back to Claremont where Jim had studied at Claremont Graduate School. Lenore played in the Claremont Symphony and she and Jim played together in the Pomona City Concert Band until last spring when the quarantine went into effect. There are plenty of unknowns going forward for everyone, but given Jim and Lenore’s curiosity, insight, and generosity of spirit, the music of their lives will continue.

The event may be virtual, but the results are real!

Our Walking Home Virtual Walk has been a success and we look forward to next year’s event. Hopefully, masks and social distancing can be replaced by friends and family walking together to celebrate and support the women of Crossroads, Inc.

Thanks to the generosity of 17 sponsors (listed on back), 70 walk participants who covered over 800 miles, and donors we have raised over $30,000!

We sincerely appreciate all of the support. Our community has walked, shared and invited others to participate, snapped photos, made donations, created teams and more to ensure that this event was a success.

Beyond the financial support, it is a poignant reminder of how much our Crossroads community stands behind the organization and helps make the programs and services they provide possible.

Thank you!

Walking Home Committee: Lydia Garnac, Leeann Nabors, Sean Harrison, Rachel McDonnell and Mary Eme

A special thanks to our Walking Home Sponsors!

Teamwork wins the day (and hearts) for the women of Crossroads, Inc.

Crossroads, Inc. staff members (left to right) Kelly, Robyn, Jackie, Taniza and LaDonna. walk with residents, board members and Sr. Terry on March 14, 2021

The ‘Crossroads Staff’ team met up at the Harvard House at 6:00 a.m. We were cheerfully greeted by Sister Terry who gave us some last minute advice, grouped us together for a send-off picture, gathered up all our belongings that she deemed unnecessary for our trip, and sent us on our way like a mother sending her kids on their first field trip. We began the first leg of our trip, which would take us to the Crossroads Office in the Claremont Village, at 6:09 a.m. We made our way down Harvard Avenue, talking excitedly about what was to come, more than likely resembling the four main characters from the Wizard of Oz. If only we were participating in this walk to receive something as simple as a brain for a straw-filled head, or some courage to be the king of the jungle, how easy it would be…but our purpose was so much more than that. We were walking to restore guidance where many had lost their way, dignity where it may have been stripped away, and lastly but certainly not least, we were walking to show love to the formerly incarcerated women whom we have dedicated ourselves to serve, until they are able to love themselves. As promised, Sister Terry was waiting at the office with needed sips of water and a few words of encouragement. We paused briefly to take a group picture then moved along in the direction of San Jose House, via Indian Hill Blvd, with Jackie White, our dedicated and fearless Director, leading the pack.

During our brief stop at the San Jose House, we added a resident, Shawn Dailey, to our team. She had requested to walk the last part of our trip with us, 1.7 miles to San Francisco House. It was something she was not sure she could accomplish but was willing to try. Her reason was simple, yet definitely heartfelt; she said she wanted to support Jackie the Program Director, and Ymeka, Robyn, and La Donna who are staff at Crossroads, because we show her support every day. We stood close on the front yard at the San Jose House so that Sister Terry could take a group photo marking our progress, and set out on our scheduled route; San Jose Avenue to San Antonio, down San Antonio to San Francisco, then across Towne Avenue.

The last leg of our walk was life changing to say the least. I couldn’t help but notice how Jackie, who kept the lead by at least one hundred feet the entire time, kept looking back to check on her teammates. It created somewhat of a domino effect and we were all checking on each other. We had straggled apart and seemed to be socially distancing since there was at least ten feet between each of us, but we were just going at our own paces. I had a sudden realization that brought a smile to my face; this is teamwork. This is what they mean when they say “No one left behind.” After all, that’s what Crossroads does. They ensure that formerly incarcerated women have the resources and tools they need so that they do not get left behind. They ensure that women in need of recovery have a chance to live a drug and alcohol-free life so that they too are not left behind in the world of addiction.

As we got closer to San Francisco House, Jackie was sitting on the front wall waiting for the rest of her team, and Sister Terry was pulling up in the driveway. The way they cheered for us as we approached at 7:40 a.m. was nothing short of awesome and heart-filling. Taniza, Jackie’s daughter had given up her Saturday morning to come and walk with our team and her mother Jackie who is also an alumna of the Crossroads program. That’s what Crossroads is all about; family reunification, rebuilding broken relationships, recovery, restoring, and so much more. This is a day I’m sure that none of us will ever forget. As for our One-Nun cheerleading squad, she showed up in her shining white Prius with much-needed Starbucks Coffee and breakfast burritos for the team that walked only a third of the fifteen miles she walked last weekend. But, from what I learned about Crossroads today, I know that her fifteen miles will be added with our five and we can all gladly say that we have walked twenty-one miles for the women in this program. That’s what teamwork is… that’s what Crossroads is.

Board of Directors Spotlight: Blair Aldworth

Blair Aldworth and her husband, Chris, have five sons, two daughters-in-law, and three granddaughters. They enjoy traveling and Dodger baseball. Their dog is named Scully! Since 2018, Blair has been a valued member of the Crossroads Board of Directors. For the last two years, Blair has served as Board Vice Chair, as a member of the Executive Committee, and as co-Chair of the Governance Committee. Her thoughtful work and unfailing good spirits have been a great boon to the Crossroads community.

Blair joined the Crossroads Board soon after retiring from Chino Valley Unified School District where she worked as a resource specialist, mentor teacher, teacher on assignment, and special education English teacher. While working for the district, she also served a one-year assignment as an adjunct professor at Cal Poly Pomona, in Special Education Credentialing. Throughout her career, Blair’s concern for the welfare of her students, their particular educational challenges and marvelous potential, was always at the center of her teaching. She recognized that each of her students had a gift to offer, and she did all that she could to support them in the cultivation of their unique talents.

Blair has been involved in community service for some time. She has served on the Board of Children, Youth, and Families for Claremont United Church of Christ, and was the Clerk of the Church Council for a number of years. Currently she is an active member of Anthesis (formally Pomona Valley Workshop), an organization which works with adults with disabilities. In all of her endeavors, as an educator, service volunteer, and board member, Blair has acted on her belief that every person has value, everyone deserves a second chance, and each one of us is worthy of the life we can imagine.

Winter/Spring 2021 Food Drive

Food Drive Monthly Donations

These staples provide the “base” of many inexpensive and healthy dinners for our women. Crossroads, Inc. helps women plan and cook simple meals they can rely on as they transition to independent living. We will be collecting the suggested item each month. Of course you can always donate one of the suggested foods any time of the year!

Where Do I Drop Off Food?

You can drop off donated food items at our office.
250 W. 1st St., Suite 254, Claremont, CA 91711.


  • Canned Meat: Tuna, Sardines, Chicken, Spam, Salmon


  • Canned Vegetables


  • Hot & Cold Cereal 


  • Pasta & Rice/ Rice Mixes: Spaghetti Noodles, Egg Noodles, White Rice, Rice-A-Roni’s and Pasta-A-Roni’s of all kinds


  • Sugar, Seasonings, and Condiments


  • Snacks
  • Chips
  • Granola Bars
  • Health Bars
  • Cookies
  • Puddings, Fruit, and Jell-O Cups

Winter Newsletter

From Where I Sit...

Since our world began changing last February/March, my sense of time has gone awry. I have recurring OMG moments realizing what month it is, how much time has passed, what we have accomplished, and how much more still needs to be done.

Twenty-two women have come to Crossroads during this time. Two stayed less than ten days. Ten have completed the program and have moved on to family or friends. Three women are continuing in the Residential Program as they await the opening of the Transitional Housing Program in Pomona. Meanwhile they help provide stability for the newer residents.

With the help of a consultant, the Crossroads Board of Directors has also been making significant changes. Redefining ourselves and our priorities has helped us focus and make tangible, significant goals for this year. Sustainability has always been a priority. However, like so many other nonprofits, COVID has changed our perspective and caused us to look and think differently. The challenge is how to make virtual events exciting, realistic, inviting.

Foremost in my mind is our Walking Home Virtual 5K scheduled for March. As we were brainstorming … throwing ideas and questions back and forth … one idea led to another … and my easy-peasy attitude of walking 5K became a challenge for me to walk from CIW (the closest CA women’s prison) to the Harvard House …15.3 miles or 24.6K … on the first day of the walk in March. I started my “training” today and I write this column after my first 2.5 miles for today.

I think of the many women who have shared with me their hopes and dreams over the past 32 years. Some conversations were during my early visits to the prisons, many others with women who called Crossroads “home.” Most recently, I think of the women who have completed their program, expressing their appreciation for what they have learned … their new perspective … the realization that they can create a new life for themselves.

I can walk 15.3 miles for them – and for every other woman who dreams of “walking home.”


Crossroads Women, staff and volunteers work together to make the San Francisco House ready for 2021 occupancy.

Next Steps | Crossroads, Inc. Expands to Include Transitional Housing in Pomona

Crossroads recently purchased property in Pomona to begin a formal Transitional Housing Program. Located on San Francisco Avenue, the craftsman house and duplex will accommodate eight women transitioning from Crossroads or another residential program.

Transitional Housing accommodates the formerly incarcerated woman who is working by providing an additional six-months room and board at no cost. She is then able to continue saving 75% of her earnings. Participation in three (3) face-to-face sessions is also a requirement. Crossroads will be able to offer two of these sessions.

Program Director, Jackie White and the women have been busy cleaning and setting up the house. The property is large enough to allow volunteers to help while practicing social distancing and mask wearing. Several donors have already provided furniture and kitchenware. A wish list at Amazon, Target or Walmart is available for things we still need. Eventually, Crossroads will celebrate this next step with an Open House when it is safe to gather.

A very special thank you to Carlos and Pat Samuelson & Associates with Realty One for their guidance and expertise with this purchase.

A link to our Virtual Housewarming can be found here.


Happy Holidays to you all. The Board and I send our sincere best wishes for peace and joy as we move into the new year. This fall has been momentous for us. We held a retreat in September in conjunction with Create Possibilities and all of us have rededicated our time, talents, and treasure to the remarkable women of Crossroads. Our strategic goals for the next three years include ensuring sustainable revenue stategies are in place, developing strong leadership, solidifing organization and mission awareness, and providing a high quality continuum of care.

Several fundraisers are in the works including our End-of-the-Year Giving Campaign and our Virtual Race this winter; check out our website for more information. A third Crossroads home has been purchased, on San Francisco Street in Pomona, and a second transitional program is being developed. Our Lady of the Assumption Parish and Claremont United Church of Christ are holding Alternative Christmases that include gifts for the San Francisco house. Despite all the challenges of the pandemic, we are thriving. Holiday cheer to you and your families.

Stay safe, dear friends, Dinny Rasmussen, Board Chair

Amazon Smile

You can support Crossroads, Inc. when you shop on Amazon. We receive a percentage of all eligible purchases. Select Crossroads, Inc. as your Amazon Smile charity or go to our website at and follow the link.

Board of Directors Spotlight: David Likens

Behavioral health executive and attorney David Likens has served the Crossroads community with distinction for many years. His recent return to the Board of Directors has resulted in the invaluable addition of new enthusiasm, perspective, and experience.

David is an adaptive, goal-focused professional with an impressive record for transforming struggling healthcare programs and projects into sustainable and efficient operations. In his career he has been a partner in Jeong & Likens, a clinical director and consultant for Paragon Recovery, and chief executive officer of several recovery programs, including Ranch at Dove Tree

of Lubbock Texas and Ascension Treatments Centers of Fallbrook, California.

During his previous tenure on the Crossroads Board, David proposed the idea for the Annual Welcome Home Breakfast and he has filled a key sponsorship role for this successful event ever since. He is currently Chair of the Governance Committee. Under his guidance, officer duties and selection procedures, along with member recruitment and ongoing board development are being clarified and formalized.

David’s deep and broad experience in behavioral health, particularly in the areas of substance abuse recovery, means that he is a person of compassion and insight. His work as an attorney, professor, CEO, and organizational consultant, means that he is also a person of energy and foresight. And David is a lapidarist! The Crossroads Board is delighted to have David working with this organization once again.

Alba Cisneros: 

Local Artist & Crossroads Sponsor

Mosaicist and landscape architect, Alba Cisneros, has created ceramic tiles and ornaments for Crossroads that will be sold at the next Village Venture or local art fair (COVID-19 has impacted recent public events – we will notify you when we can make Alba’s work available.) Alba’s generous donation of her time and art is a tangible reflection of her respect for the work of Crossroads and enthusiastic support of the women it serves.

Alba is a native of Claremont. From Sycamore Elementary, Pitzer College, and Cal Poly Pomona, through Denis O’Conner Mosaics to “Land Designs”, she has honed her artistic skills and developed her generous spirit. Her public mosaics are on display throughout the local area, including at Cal Poly, Western University, Mt. San Antonio College, Pitzer Ranch, Bonita Village, Holt Family Apartments, and Mosaic Garden Apartments. She serves on the board of directors for the Scripps Fine Arts Foundation and the Claremont Museum of Art. Currently, Alba lives and works in Pomona.

If you would like further information about Alba Cisneros’ art you may reach her at, or if you would like to donate your art or artistic abilities to support the women of Crossroads, contact us at 909-626-7847 or email

Fall Newsletter

From Where I Sit...

More often than not, when I arrive at the office in the morning, I notice a handful of people sitting on chairs and planters in front of California First Bank. Their daily coffee and conversation ritual did not disappear in the midst of the pandemic. By adjusting to where they meet, they found a way to continue what was/is important to them despite the pandemic. Each morning I see them brings a smile behind my mask and I am reminded of an Anthony De Mello quote: Nothing has changed but my attitude, therefore, everything has changed.

The pandemic has not slowed Crossroads down, but it has challenged us to be creative in providing services for the women. I’ve often shared that when things get difficult at Crossroads, all I need to do is think of the women and what they are doing, what they have accomplished. Motivation is renewed and I get moving again with new energy.

At the beginning of July, we were finally able to purchase the “after-care” house we had been renting in Pomona for the past 13 years. It will be a new program for Crossroads providing six months of Transitional Housing for women who have completed a six-month residential program. Rather than expanding our current residential program, providing Transitional Housing was the next best step for the women. It will allow up to 8 women another 6 months of housing and meals at no cost to them as they work and continue to save 75% of their earnings. It takes almost six years for a woman to become financially stable. This new component should shorten that time significantly.

These weeks are spent making needed repairs and upgrades in preparation for inspection and approval for addition to our current contract. As restrictions ease, volunteers for various work parties would be most welcome. Please check our website and emails for upcoming dates and requests.

Crossroads, Inc Executive Director | Sr, Terry Dodge

Amazon Smile

You can support Crossroads, Inc. when you shop on Amazon. We receive a percentage of all eligible purchases. Select Crossroads, Inc. as your Amazon Smile charity or go to our website at and follow the link.

Reflections on Wonder Woman

Reel Life…

For almost three months now, I have been facilitating a group with the women using movies such as: Cast Away, The Pursuit of Happyness, Zootopia, Crash, Hidden Figures, RBG, On the Basis of Sex, Yentl, and Wonder Woman.

Sometimes it is difficult to make sense of what is happening in our lives, especially if we don’t have any other experience with which to compare it. The use of movies/media helps to bridge this gap through storylines, character development, interpretations of what is being watched and heard and how it relates to our own personal issues. The in-depth conversations connects us with each other and we realize we are not alone in our struggle.

Wonderful discussions have developed around determination, stereotypes, racism, personal development, perseverance, support, role models … just to name a few topics.

With everything, I ask each woman what is your “take-away” … that one kernel you will remember and why? Here are two Crossroads women’s reflections after watching Wonder Woman – which I used as a final culminating movie to gather our inspirations and musings.


Life fails to be perfect but it is always beautiful. My take away from this particular film was the moment I found I wasn’t alone in my Journey. There is a hero in every single one of us. WE may not know exactly where our Journeys began or where our Journeys may lead us, but we must get on the road to even begin this Journey. So my take is the role I play, how that role is different from everyone else, what makes it stand out in a crowd.

I chose this movie because of the many moments I have experienced the crossroads in my life. The moments where I must make a choice and stand alone in it. Heartfelt choices. Powerful choices. How will my choices affect me or others? Those are the hardest choices we make in life. Many times I gave to much of me. Many times I gave too little of me. Without giving anything to myself, it was like a car running out of gas and the car stops. You can’t simply keep going.

There are moments in our lives where there’s scars then moment of laughter, but once we realize we are at a crossroad we must keep going because those are the most powerful moments … so keep going. (Sonja)


Right Action. Wonder Woman’s aunt inspired me the most. She inspired me to continue being strong, determined and prepared. Daily I remind myself that strong will, determination, and right action will produce “just rewards.” Her daily training and education of self, reminded me that you must be prepared for life’s journeys, battles, and trials.

Even knowing you can’t foresee the future or always be prepared … you can at least do all you can in preparation to survive it. I’m reminded that life is now. There is no dress rehearsal. And I must meet it head on. I believe in myself. Remain steadfast and forward moving. Stagnation is a poison I must not allow to seep in. I must continue learning, growing, and becoming. And always remember … feelings are not right or wrong … they just are. Live in the now … embrace it. (Durlene)


The Board and I are well and sincerely hope that you and your families are healthy and hopeful. The challenges we all face are daunting at times, but they are life affirming too. We are so grateful to be with you in this beloved community.

Despite the pandemic, the Board has been meeting regularly via Zoom, emails, and texts, and we have done some good work. In July, we said good-bye to a valued Board member, Pat Samuelson, and hello to three new Board members, Pia Gupta, Rachel McDonnell, and Leeann Nabors. We are now thirteen members strong.

On September 26th we will hold a board development retreat, led by Cindi Phallen of Create Possibility. It is wonderful to feel the energy already generated by our new relationship with Cindi. Our goal is to lay a strong foundation for organizational restructuring, so that the mission of providing hope and home for the women of Crossroads is assured. The better organized we are, the better funded our programs will be, and the women will prosper.


In July, Crossroads took ownership of a third home for our women, the San Francisco House, in Pomona. This purchase will generate additional income for Crossroads by providing transitional housing and support programing for eight women.


The Board is currently planning several virtual fundraisers, for the late fall and winter, while developing a long-term strategic plan for funding.

Stay safe, dear friends, Dinny Rasmussen, Board Chair


The Crossroads Board of Directors is delighted to welcome three new members to the Board. New members serve for three years and may be elected to a second three-year term. At this time the Board has thirteen members. Each of the new members offers her unique life experiences, training, and talents to us and we will be a richer community because of them.


Leeann Nabors has over 9 years of experience managing day to day operations of a nonprofit, 501c(3) counseling center in Claremont. She also serves as the Administrative Coordinator for the Claremont Colleges for the OCAC (Office of Consortia Academic Collaboration), facilitating the Justice Education and Data Science Initiatives. Leeann has a strong commitment to under-served, under-represented and marginalized populations.


Pia Gupta is Department Chair and Professor of Finance at California State University Long Beach (CSULB). Pia earned her PhD in Finance from Texas and moved to California in 2006. Her research and teaching interests are in the areas of Corporate Finance and Investments. She joined the board of Crossroads as its mission aligns perfectly with that of the Cal State system, which is to serve the under-served communities. She is also passionate about traveling and enjoys hiking, cooking, and reading.



Rachel McDonnell is a graphic artist and web-designer who specializes in helping non-profit organizations reach their goals. She has been involved in local non-profit marketing and leadership for over 20 years. She is interested in social and criminal justice issues and looks forward to opportunities to assist organizations who help people who were formerly incarcerated. A self-described coffee, book, and twitter addict – she endeavors to put aside computers, tablets and phones for more than 20 minutes a day and is generally unsuccessful.

Perseverance, Hard Work & New Beginnings

I was sentenced to “15 to life with the possibility of parole” in June of 2007. On June 7th 2019 I was released from custody after serving 15 years. I was mandated a program and decided to go to Crossroads, Inc. My priority was to get a job and start saving my money right away. However, the program had other plans for me, plans unknown to me that would benefit me when I was ready to leave.
It took a lot of patience but the women and staff there made sure to always uplift me when I had trying times. Job seeking was horrible for me. It even got a little discouraging. Many jobs denied me because I have tattoos and a criminal background.

My opportunity came when I was offered a job with the DoubleTree Hilton of Claremont. I was so happy and excited I was finally having the opportunity to really work. And let me tell you, it was hard work! Going to work early in the morning and coming home mid-afternoon to go to group was exhausting! But well worth it! I had graduated the program and continued to strive at my job when here comes COVID-19. WOW!!! That was very frustrating.

Once again I felt discouraged. My hours were cut drastically and I was on unemployment. I’ve never been known to just sit around and wait. I’m a determined go-getter so I placed applications everywhere. Even places I knew would run my background. But I didn’t care. I wasn’t going to give up! I received a phone call one day from Foothill Transit asking for an interview. I went and told my story telling them that all I wanted was a chance.

That Chance is what they gave me. I now have not only a job but a career as a professional bus operator.

If it wasn’t for the women and staff at Crossroads I probably would’ve given up. Thank you Crossroads for all you have shown and given me.

Our Stay-at-Home Musings

Our Stay-at-Home Musings

“Fears are tangible and may not be eliminated but we do not have to be controlled by them. When we change our thinking, we change the way we see the world around us. We find that as we navigate the obstacles, we uncover opportunity.”

It is trite to say our world has changed and we live in fear.  In March, I was in Ireland at an international meeting with the leaders of my religious community.  Surrounded by the beautiful Irish coastal countryside and with an emerging backdrop of COVID-19, Sisters from Ireland, England, Ghana, Nigeria, and the US discussed the future of our international group.  With the 8-hour time difference, the early mornings allowed me opportunity to follow the news of California from the day before and be in contact with the Crossroads staff before the next day began for them.  Our much anticipated major fundraiser for the year with Martin Sheen and Melissa Fitzgerald reading A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters had to be cancelled.

Since my return … businesses have closed…movement has become more restricted…and we pay attention to numbers like a bookie managing his bets.  Terms like social distancing, essential businesses, shelter-in-place, have become part of our everyday vocabulary.  Empty streets, extended lines outside stores, and face masks are common sites.

The Crossroads office is closed to the public but our work continues as usual and women continue to come asking for a new beginning.  As we try to ease their fears, we also learn from their resilience and determination.  Fears are tangible and may not be eliminated but we do not have to be controlled by them.  When we change our thinking, we change the way we see the world around us.  We find that as we navigate the obstacles, we uncover opportunity. 

The First Time I Felt Free

by Lisa, Crossroads Resident

A couple weeks ago in our processing group, one of the questions we were asked was, “When was the first time you felt free?” All of the women have different answers to this question, but my answer was, “The first time I felt free was riding on the bus
going to work. It was seeing families walk together, it was seeing cars go by on the street, it was seeing life existing and that I was a part of it. That is the first time I was finally able to exhale and take it all in.”

While serving 20 years in prison, I was always preparing for freedom. I wanted to go back to my family. I felt guilty for not being there, I felt that I needed to make up for the past. In some ways, I thought being with my family would be the easy choice. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I needed to be in a place where I was emotionally supported and encouraged to be self-sufficient. Coming to Crossroads offered me the counseling I needed, it offered me a place where I was with others who had been through similar experiences, and most importantly, a safe environment that helps me grow and heal.

Now, with less than a month left in the Crossroads program, I feel that freedom I felt on the bus every day. I feel it when I go to the library to do research for the women still in prison, I feel it when I serve the homeless at Urban Mission, I feel it when I am studying for my Driver’s License test. I know who I am, I have a good self-image, and I’m more equipped to deal with the real world. I can ask for help whenever I need it and I know I will be connected to Crossroads for the rest of my life.

Sr. Terry Recognized as a 2019 Congressional Woman of the Year

Sr. Terry Recognized as a 2019 Congressional Woman of the Year

On Saturday, April 13, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) hosted the Congressional Women of the Year Awards Ceremony to honor local women in the San Gabriel Valley who have contributed to the community through service, organizing, or leadership. The award, now in its 10th year, is given to women nominated by people in their own cities and communities. Rep. Chu released the following statement:

“The annual Women of the Year Awards Ceremony is one of my favorite events of the year. Today’s winners have stood out in our communities because of their drive and commitment to give back to the San Gabriel Valley. Every single honoree today has been selected through an exhaustive process, starting with a nomination from their neighbors, friends, and family – the people in their communities who have benefited most directly from their service. We received a flood of nominations from cities across the district, and today’s winners stood out not only because of their work, but because of the admiration from their neighbors and fellow citizens. I’m so proud of these role models and am honored to be recognizing them.”

Sr. Terry was among those selected as an honoree from Claremont. CA. in recognition of the leadership and commitment to the Crossroads, Inc. program for formerly incarcerated women.