About three years ago, Ardith met a woman who taught crochet in the local prison. After several months of talking with her, Ardith applied as a volunteer for Wildwood Correctional Facility and was approved.
When she started, she was focused on just teaching crochet, but after she met "her ladies," she fell in love with these precious souls caught up in drug addiction by and large. Prior to working in the prison, Ardith thought anyone in prison deserved to be there. Now she is fighting to get treatment in jails to address addiction as a disease and not something that can be "incarcerated out of a person."
Ardith's dream is to have a women's shelter in Homer, and maybe a men's if she can get enough support, and educate the community so that there is a seamless reentry into a functioning community where support is everywhere you turn. A place where jobs, housing and transportation are available for felons and other formerly incarcerated. Where treatment options are easy to access and fit the needs.
She has been involved with the Kenai Peninsula Reentry Coalition since its inception and is attempting to tap into the faith-based community through the religious volunteers to enlarge the reach of reentry and create more treatment options, more housing, jobs and transportation in her rural settings in Alaska. She is a member of the South Peninsula Opioid Task force and has a nascent group, Hope Harbor, that is just getting off the ground and is focused on reentry in her local community.
Ardith has three grown children and six grandchildren with two on the way. She has lived at the end of the road in Homer, AK for 15 years since moving from California. She worked for the US Census Bureau in California and in remote Alaska. She crochets and teaches crochet locally, as well as in the prison. She paints as a hobby, as well as quilting.