I was stoked to read this morning that two ladies I have a huge amount of respect for have been awarded the Queen's Service Medal in this year's honours list for "services to prisoner rehabilitation programmes"
Janet and June run the Shut-in Stitchers programmes at Arohata prison teaching ladies how to quilt. They do fantastic work, giving women a creative outlet, a new skill, a new way of networking with other women when they get out of prison. They help strengthen bonds between mothers and the children they are apart from as these women are able to make something tangible to send home to their loved ones.
I am in awe of the time that they have dedicated to such a fantastic cause (over 20 years now), and have had the privilege of being involved with the program myself this last year working with them and several other talented selfless ladies do this important work.
It takes a special type of person to be able to go into a prison environment week after week and foster an environment in these classes that is free of judgement and mistrust and is a positive encouraging space to be.
The full honours list can be found here.