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Re-entry program for women overcomes financial woes, prepares to graduation

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Graduation season is a time many families look forward to. However, one group of women almost missed out on their special day. "Transitional Options for Women" provides a second chance to women released from prison or jail.

The non-profit struggled to keep its doors open because of financial problem. Organizers said community support helped the organization survive.

The structure at Transitional Options for Women has helped to change Kathryn Lang's life. She entered the shelter after being released from prison.

"I would have been homeless," Lang said. "I probably would have been back into drugs."

Lang is back on her feet and one of seven women graduating from the program. The non-profit provides housing, job placement and life skill training for women who served time. Last year, the non-profit owed thousands of dollars in back rent and organizer said it almost closed. Dorothy Owsley, founder of Transitional Options for Women, said a $34,000 grant from the Foundation for Roanoke Valley allowed her to keep the doors open. In addition, she said local resources offered to the women at the shelter have allowed Lang and others to rebuild their lives.

"It's a morale booster for the women and also adding stability to the community because they are moving out and becoming productive citizens," said Owsley.

Transitional Options for Women will hold a graduation ceremony on Sunday, June 5th at 4 p.m. at Morning Star Baptist Church in Roanoke.