OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla -- Tammy Franklin is a light in the darkness. Every week, she visits Kate Barnard Correctional Center to breathe life into these women. Franklin said, “I think that’s why we were created to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Franklin leads “Prison Fellowship Academy”. It’s a year-long curriculum, guiding the students on a holistic journey. According to Franklin, “They are so hungry for something different. Hungry for change. Just being able to have a front row seat on that. It brings me more joy than I can find a word to describe.”
Tammy’s joy comes from a place of empathy and understanding. “It gives a person purpose to be part of somebody’s life. The drive behind that is because someone did it for me. I was incarcerated for many years. It was because the volunteers who came in and taught me something different that I was able to find hope and change so to give that back doesn’t get any better. It just doesn’t.”
The class targets negative thinking and behavior, humility, and spiritual restoration.
Tammy sees beyond the orange. To her, the KBCC inmates are “returning citizens”. And the values she instills are genuinely life-changing. They recently crocheted Easter baskets for local children. Franklin said, “We provide activities to give back to the communities, to leave this place better than they found it. It was a cool project because the women who knew how taught the ones who didn’t. Great way for the community to come together as a whole.”
Tammy Franklin knows there is life after incarceration. Franklin and her parade of volunteers are planting seeds of hope. Beautiful things can grow anywhere, even in prison. According to Franklin, “If it were not for the volunteers in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections it would be a very, very dark place. Only because they bring the light you spoke of earlier. They bring hope courage, strength -- they bring love.”