Volunteers, residents at New Mexico Women’s Recovery Academy highlighted in recent news segment

New Mexico Women's Recovery Academy
The New Mexico Women’s Recovery Academy in Albuquerque, NM

The New Mexico Women’s Recovery Academy (NMWRA) in Albuquerque was featured on national TV news show 50PlusPrime for their ongoing partnership with volunteer and author Ann Edenfield Sweet. The segment highlighted the importance of community and support in breaking the cycle of recidivism, and showcased Sweet, who has written multiple books on the subject after experiencing the effects of having a loved one in prison firsthand.

The episode also showed several activities and counseling sessions at NMWRA, including interviews with Treatment Services Supervisor Russell Ouellett and Counselors Renee Mollineda and Maxine Cordova. The host, Tony Fama, spoke to some residents about the services at NMWRA and their experience with Sweet, who volunteers at NMWRA to teach simple life skills, like the importance of a handshake, giving back to the community and identifying healthy role models.

“The reason that treatment is so important is that it’s giving each of these members a chance to become productive members of society,” Ouellett said. “The more support our residents have when they return to the community, the better they do, and it cuts down on recidivism significantly.”

The gender-specific programming includes parenting classes, substance abuse treatment, life skills classes and employment and vocational training. GEO Reentry’s cognitive behavioral treatment program focuses on changing thinking patterns to a positive path, ultimately leading to a reduction in recidivism. The episode highlighted some of these evidence-based programs by showing residents working in cognitive-based treatment programming sessions with their counselors and part of a morning meeting and support group.

“If you change your thoughts, you change your outcome,” Mollineda said during a group session featured on the show. “Correct your thinking by not saying ‘I can’t,’ and replacing it with what you are attempting to accomplish. Correct your thinking on the spot.”

The show aired nationally in January 2019 and can be seen on YouTube and social media outlets.