While working for a major healthcare company, Laura Bulluck often questioned whether her work was really making a difference. She rarely saw an end result, let alone interacted with patients, so she started wondering whether a career change could remedy this.
She made the decision to pursue a master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management at Walden University and hasn’t looked back. Laura already had an interest in helping women caught in difficult circumstances, and the program at Walden gave her the tools to build a comprehensive plan for how she could effect change in this area. The result, a nonprofit called Hope’s Crossing, provides a unique approach to helping women leaving incarceration.
“We believe in a method of ongoing support,” Laura said. As part of this, her organization focuses on providing women with moments to celebrate, helping clients see their own value and giving them hope for the future.
“The real reward is seeing them recognize they can do it, and hearing them say that they want to go and help other women.”
“We have seven-week intervals in our program, and every seven weeks we have a graduation,” Laura explained. “Those are the most memorable moments for everyone.” She believes these periodic celebrations are among the key reasons her program is so successful in keeping women from falling back into criminal activity. The national average for recidivism is 75 percent; for those in Laura’s program, it is just 9 percent.
“We help women change their belief system and how they deal with daily situations,” Laura said. Through a combination of life-skills training, job readiness, mentoring and coaching, women are surrounded by an environment of support and healthy challenge.
Laura is fully committed to Hope’s Crossing, serving as executive director of the group, which has served over 150 women in four and a half years. She says connections with Walden University alumni have given her a worldwide network of support, helping to fuel her motivation to expand the Hope’s Crossing program nationwide. In the end, she is still motivated by the daily changes she sees in women’s lives.