Chloe Fulton, program manager of the Reentry Engagement Program (REP) for Felton Institute’s Justice Services Division, has always been a helper.
She recognizes that there are moments when her personal life experience allows her to relate to the populations she serves in a way that having had family that has been incarcerated or dealing with mental health challenges can appreciate. For her, help means dealing with the ‘right now” of a person’s situation as much as creating a plan for their future.
“The purpose of REP is to catch those that traditionally fall through the cracks or are not served well by mental health providers, so we’re kind of like a safety net. I can work with the attorneys, and I’m able to get clients out of jail earlier because I can say we have space in our program, they’re enrolled, these are the services we provide or are already taking steps to get them connected to… So besides attending the people in the moment, [I] can intervene in ways that have longer term effects for people’s well-being.”
Women in Leadership
The elements of leadership, service and devotion that Fulton applies to her work is extraordinary, but not unusual to see here at Felton Institute. Across our organization, our teams dedicate their lives to serving our community and with a senior leadership team made of 60% women—we recognize the success of Felton Institute is largely owed to the intersectional leadership of women at every level.
Women like Mona Blake, program director of Center of Reentry Excellence (CORE), and Eleanor Lee, program director of Adult Protective Services – both utilizing their skills and experiences to help and advance the communities they serve.
“With this job, I can give back to the community I came from,” Blake says, commenting on her experience growing up in West Oakland. “I help people and try to get them back into society.”
“This job chose me,” Lee says. “The best part is knowing every day, I am going to help connect someone to housing, food, primary care, or some other supportive service that can improve their living condition.”
Lee notes that her professional success has been largely influenced by other woman lifting her up.
“A diverse group of women have supported my career path—women that have character and are crushing it in this field.”
While we are lucky to receive guidance and witness the achievements of so many women at Felton Institute, the road to equality for many of our clients is not as clear. Women in California are still getting paid a fraction of what white men are receiving—for women of color, this fraction is even smaller.
Last year we served over 30,000 women through our services. Cultural, professional, and medical biases still present serious and unique obstacles for women today. When compounded with additional biases such as racial or socioeconomic discrimination, these existing barriers become an even greater threat to our communities.
With the pandemic, many of those existing barriers have been exasperated, while new disparities have been exposed to the detriment of already vulnerable communities, the extent to which we may not know for years to come.
June Keegan, currently a case manager for the Supporting Treatment and Reducing Recidivism (STARR) program, began her time with the Felton Engagement Specialist Team (FEST) doing outreach among our unhoused population. She says, while we are getting services back on track, the effects of pandemic disruption linger.
“The impact hits our clients and the population that we work with greatly. And we’re coming out of it now. But the impact is still felt in every area.”
“So that’s what we do; we provide support for clients. We will help them with housing, connecting to medical care, mental health services, if they’re interested in employment or education, we need support to do that and other providers.”
Celebrating Felton Strong
A few of our programs that primarily serve and support women in overcoming some of these obstacles, include:
- The Teenage Pregnancy and Parenting Program (TAPP)
- Adult Protective Services (APS)
- Infant Development Intervention Program
- Young Family Resource Center
While we celebrate the accomplishments and strides the women leaders at Felton Institute persistently achieve, we continue to address the inequalities and barriers to success that women in other communities face. There are no simple solutions to dismantling systemic sexism or structural racism, but women at Felton Institute continue to work every day to see small steps towards progress with those we serve.
Community engagement and donations are crucial for keeping all of Felton Institute’s programs alive and operating. If you are as passionate as we are to continue the good work, please consider contributing to the services that provide innovative solutions for all community members.
About Felton Institute: Rooted in equity, Felton Institute transforms quality of life and promotes social justice to accelerate community led change. Felton Institute is a tax-exempt organization registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit under EIN 94-1156530.
Offering more than 50 acclaimed and honored programs that address homelessness, mental health, prenatal, adolescent, adult and senior needs, Felton Institute provides evidence-based behavioral health and social services in San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Marin, and Monterey counties.
Felton Institute can trace its roots back to 1889. The organization is named for its social services pioneer and executive director Dr. Katharine “Kitty” Felton who was called the “conscience of San Francisco” and was committed to ensuring that children and families in crisis have access to social services and resources in order to help them build upon their inherent strengths and develop self-sufficiency. www.felton.org