This was very emotional but very healthy to talk about-thank you — workshop participant

Safe Harbor has been honored to work with the inmates at the Virginia Correctional Center for Women (VCCW). Twice a month, committed volunteers discuss healthy relationships with the inmates at VCCW. It is our hope that each woman will be even better equipped to have healthy, fulfilling relationships after participating in our workshops together.

Caitlin Zettl coordinates this outreach effort. She trains volunteers, coordinates visits with VCCW staff, recruits volunteers to facilitate sessions and leads sessions… all as a volunteer. She worked closely with Community Organizing Manager, Stacie Vecchietti, to develop a curriculum and build a volunteer team to complete this important work.

Participants appreciate the interaction they experience during the sessions and the impact can often be experienced immediately. The inmates get the opportunity to role play and learn healthy relationship skills together. This, in turn, helps them improve their relationships with each other and also with their friends, intimate partners, family and children. This video illustrates how the classes help participants improve their relationships: VCCW Testimonial

Additionally, participants learn about communication skills, anger management, what makes a healthy relationship and self-esteem/self-concept. These sessions reinforce the healthy relationship skills the women have and help them develop new ways to interact — fitting in with Safe Harbor’s goal to provide our community with the tools needed for all to enjoy healthy, fulfilling relationships.

It is important for Safe Harbor to not only promote healthy relationships but to also educate the women about domestic and sexual violence. The workshops also offer information on state-wide and local community resources to address domestic and sexual violence so that participants know help is available and how to access assistance.

Caitlin and her team witness amazing transformations in the women involved. If you wonder what participants think, here are some quotes from them on the program’s impact:

It’s people like you that change people’s lives. Don’t ever forget that!

I appreciate your time and wisdom that allows me to be safe

Today we talked about how to stop and center yourself before you react in a bad way. It was very good information and I look forward every time to when these ladies come to Goochland

Although I’ve never had a situation of Domestic Violence on me, I used to hit the men I was in a relationships with and disrespect them with hurtful words. Over time I’ve learned that communicating in a healthy way is better. Thank you Safe Harbor!

We are so proud of this transformative outreach effort! If this inspires you and you are interested in participating in this program by volunteering or providing financial support, please contact Jodi Leonard (