Between July, 2000 and March, 2002 the founder of ODOI, an attorney and former Human Resource Executive, volunteered at Marion Correctional Institution (MCI) implementing solid core programs designed to positively shift the inmate culture and the staff workplace culture relating to conflict management and dispute resolution. ODOI offered creative skill-building programs permitting inmates and staff to learn new skills and create awareness and ownership of their individual responsibility for early and effective dispute resolution. The Opening Doors® program has proven to be highly successful for inmates and a complimentary staff program which is now known as Opening Doors In The WorkplaceSM is equally well-regarded. Based on the success of these and other related programs, Director Wilkinson of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, expressed his desire for this work to be expanded to other Ohio prisons. After a meeting with Dr. Wilkinson and other DRC Executives in May, 2002 work began to expand into ten initially designated Ohio prisons in June, 2002. It soon became apparent that an organizational structure to support the expanding conflict resolution work in the Ohio prisons would be beneficial. As a result, ODOI filed its Articles of Incorporation in October, 2002 to develop an effective structure that would resource funding and volunteer needs for this work. At the present time, ODOI has successfully facilitated its inmate curriculum in eight Ohio prisons ranging from minimum to super-max security levels, serving both male and female adult offenders. At the request of the Wardens, the staff curriculum has been introduced in two Ohio prisons to date. ODOI's volunteer base has grown from 1 person in July, 2000 to 24 trained outside volunteer facilitators, 15 trained staff facilitators and over 100 trained inmate volunteers. Other Ohio prisons are waiting for both inmate and staff program implementation. In February, 2006 Opening Doors reached a milestone by serving its 1,000th inmate participant! Then sometime in late 2009 that number exceeded 2,500.
Strong interest in ODOI's unique approach to inmate and staff programming has been growing in other prisons, some as far away as England. More recently, the Ohio Department of Youth Services has invited Opening Doors to become one of its first faith-based partners to accomplish the Department's objectives of better preparing incarcerated youth with new skills and strengthen community support allowing for a successful return home. As a result, the pilot Opening Doors program for youth was conducted in March, 2006 at Scioto Juvenile Correctional Facility.
By the end of 2004 ODOI recognized its program efforts were at maximum capacity until the hard work of fund development, strategic planning and stronger organizational development to recruit and equip a broader base of volunteers could be accomplished. As a result, in January, 2005 the ODOI Board decided to work with Olan Hendrix, an experienced fund development consultant, to assist with the needs critical to continuing program expansion. In 2005 we successfully wrote our first grant application and received funds to begin a newsletter, develop our website and create a professional identity for Opening Doors through our business collateral.
Our vision and mission has expanded over the years as we continue to seek guidance and direction from God and implement His plans and strategies as He opens doors for us to do so. What began as one program in one prison to teach conflict skills has now developed into a well organized strategy for serving offenders and their families in ways which strengthen their relationship and offers support to qualifying ex-offenders upon their release from prison.
|September 1999||Debbie Roeger, founder Opening Doors, took early retirement from the practice of law.|
|February 2000||God called Debbie to go inside Marion Correctional and serve Him there.|
|May 2000||Debbie met Gary Sims in Washington, D.C. at Justice Fellowship conference.|
|July 2000||Gary Sims introduced Debbie to Warden Christine Money at MCI.|
First volunteer experience at MCI as a co-facilitator for first Horizon Interfaith Orientation; followed by invitation to develop conflict resolution model for Interfaith dorm.
|Fall 2000||Mediation training for MCI inmates began in partnership with Capital University Law School Center for Dispute Resolution.|
Mediation training for MCI staff began in partnership with Capital University Law School Center for Dispute Resolution.
|April 2001||MCI Pilot Opening Doors® program with 20 Horizon Interfaith residents at Marion Correctional [Co-facilitators: Debbie Roeger, Christine Robinson, and MCI inmates Willie Bond and Michael Rogers]|
First MCI staff conflict resolution / team building program offered.
|June 2001||First Opening Doors® facilitator training [Coaches: Debbie Roeger and Madeleine Trichel]|
|November 2001||Received Gold Star Award from Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections for exemplary efforts in promoting Ohio Quality Corrections.|
|March 2002||Invitation given by Director Wilkinson to expand Opening Doors programming into other Ohio prisons.|
|October 2002||Opening Doors of Ohio, Inc. formed as an Ohio non-profit corporation.|
|December 2002||First Opening Doors program offered at Madison Correctional.|
|January 2003||First Opening Doors program offered at Ross Correctional.|
|April 2003||First Opening Doors program offered at Ohio Reformatory for Women.|
|June 2003||First Opening Doors program offered at Trumbull Correctional.|
|August 2003||First Opening Doors program offered at Ohio State Penitentiary Camp.|
|September 2003||First Opening Doors program offered at Ohio's super-max prison, Ohio State Penitentiary.|
|December 2003||IRS 501(c)3 status granted.|
|April 2004||First Opening Doors program offered at Warren Correctional.|
|August 2004||First Opening Doors program offered at Mansfield Correctional.|
|September 2004||First Opening Doors In The WorkplaceSM program at Ross Correctional.|
|December 2004||Debbie received Ross Correctional Institution "Volunteer of the Year" award.|
|January 2005||First request made for financial support from adult Bible Fellowship Class at Worthington Christian Church.|
|March 2005||Prayers for PrisonersSM began with first 3 envelopes from ORW.|
|May 2005||First grant awarded (Ohio Compassion Capital mini-grant).|
|June 2005||Opening Doors board unanimously voted to expand its vision/mission to embrace leadership for Stand In The Gap,™ Ohio as a faith based ex-offender group mentoring model.|
|September 2005||First Opening Doors newsletter mailed to approx 300 recipients.|
|November 2005||First two Stand In The Gap,™ Ohio (faith based mentoring) spiritual families trained and began meeting.|
First Ask letter sent to public.
|January 2006||Third Stand In The Gap,™ Ohio (faith based mentoring) spiritual family trained and began meeting.|
|February 2006||Opening Doors program milestone: 1,000th inmate participates in Opening Doors offender program.|
|March 2006||Opening Doors for Youth pilot program at Scioto Juvenile.|
Marla Eland became our Prayers for PrisonersSM coordinator.
|May 2006||US Patent & Trademark office approved application to register the "Opening Doors®" name for the exclusive use of Opening Doors of Ohio.|
|June 2006||Opening Doors in the Family began at ORW, FPRC, & CRC funded by two separate state grants.|
|October 2006||Opening Doors for youth program became funded by Dept. of Youth Services grant to program in all 8 DYS state facilities.|
|December 2006||Home in Brice Ohio (Sarah's House) was received as a gift from an ex-offender.|
|January 2007||Derf Roeger comes out of the marketplace to join ODOI full time.|
Opening Doors board determines we are to serve young women 18-21 years old returning to the community from Scioto Juvenile Correctional Facility.
|March 2007||Sarah's House was commissioned.|
|June 2007||2nd year funding for Opening Doors in the Family continues at ORW, FPRC, & PCI via two state grants.|
Conclusion of regular Opening Doors Programming at MCI and Mansfield Correctional.
|August 2007||First two female (mentees) neighbors in Stand in the Gap, Ohio are matched with (faith based mentoring) two spiritual families.|
Bible study began at Scioto Juvenile Correctional Facility.
James Himsworth hired as Men's Case Manager.
|October 2007||2nd year funding for Opening Doors for youth program to continue in all 8 DYS state facilities.|
1st Juvenile resident moves into Sarah's House from Scioto Village.
Trauma Recovery programming begins at ORW.
|December 2007||Bryan Davis hired as our Chemical Dependency Counselor and Women's Case Manager.|
|June 2008||3rd year funding for Opening Doors in the Family continues at ORW, FPRC, PCI & WCCCF via two state grants.|
|October 2008||3rd year funding for Opening Doors for youth program to continue in all 8 DYS state facilities.|
|March 2009||Opening Doors program milestone: 2,500th inmate participates in Opening Doors offender program.|
|April 2009||Debbie Roeger announces she is stepping down as Executive Director.|
Began 'Free at Last' support group for ex-offenders in the community.
|July 2009||James Himsworth begins as the new Opening Doors Executive Director.|
|February 2010||University of Cincinnati informed ODOI that we yielded the best overall results from GOFBCI grantees.|
|March 2010||Mid Ohio Re-Entry Coalition grant awarded with ODOI as partner for the 1st year grant term plus an extension.|
|June 2010||Opening Doors provides space at Sarah's house for use with women from CATCH program.|
James invited to sit on Delaware County Community corrections board.
|July 2010||James provides over 350 hours of programming to all "court involved" women working with Amethyst.|
|August 2010||RSAT grant award working with women at ORW.|
|September 2010||Myra Dempsey hired as our second Women's Case Manager.|
|November 2010||ODOI provides 6 months of Boundaries training to families of addicted and incarcerated youth in Bucyrus.|
|August 2011||Bryan Davis receives his LCDC III.|
|December 2011||Received 2nd year RSAT grant award at ORW.|
Received Delaware/Morrow Coalition Re-Entry sub grant.
|June 2012||Received continuation of Delaware/Morrow Coalition Re-Entry sub grant.|
James invited to sit on Alvis House collaboration board.
|September 2012||Began working with Lorain County Reentry Coalition as a consultant.|
|June 2013||Received 2nd year continuation of Delaware/Morrow Coalition Re-Entry sub grant.|
|September 2013||Marla Eland retired as our Prayers for PrisonersSM coordinator and as a volunteer for the past 8 plus years! Carol Walton has graciously accepted to lead this effort forward.|
|October 2013||Received 3rd year continuation of RSAT grant award at ORW.|