EMERGE, which stands for Educating Mothers to Embrace Reentry and Gain Employment, is a voluntary program provided at no charge to mothers, ages 18 and older, who are currently incarcerated and about to be released from the Westchester County Department of Correction.

EMERGE offers these women the opportunity to make a new start as they transition back into their home

Janet Donat (right) watches EMERGE participant Juanita demonstrate cake decorating skills. She has since opened her own company, Mas Cakes.

communities upon release. EMERGE helps these women prepare for employment and learn effective parenting techniques.

Learning More Effective Parenting and Life Skills

When mothers are incarcerated, their children suffer. Without a mother at home, children lose the emotional and financial support they need to grow into healthy adults. EMERGE is working to change that here in Westchester County by helping mothers released from jail learn more effective parenting skills.

Participants attend an eight-week, culturally sensitive, trauma informed, reflective parenting workshop,

EMERGE inmates at graduation

Proud EMERGE graduates pose with program director Janet Donat (back row, far right).

where they learn about the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), the toxic stress that results from them, and the importance of building future resilience for themselves and their children.

Healthy child development, effective parenting skills, positive discipline, identification of feelings, and mindfulness are all covered in the EMERGE curriculum. Participants also receive assistance with pre-employment and employment readiness, as well as a referral to the 20-week Coming Home restorative community re-entry program. Workshops are held once a week at the Westchester County Department of Correction, and the series is offered quarterly.

EMERGE also teaches financial literacy to women so that they can improve their economic situations and confidently assume all the challenges of responsible motherhood.

The women participating in EMERGE:

  • Attend an eight-week Responsible Parenting workshop to learn about healthy child development, effective parenting skills, discipline techniques, conflict resolution and anger management.

    Female prisoners tend a garden

    EMERGE “give-back gardening” participants grow organic food for Westchester restaurants.

  • Receive assistance with employment readiness and the job search process. EMERGE provides help with resume preparation and interviewing strategies.
  • When appropriate, women receive individual counseling sessions and referrals to address other issues, such as mental health or chemical dependency.

Contact Information:

Janet Donat, MS ED, Program Coordinator
(914) 305-6843