The Stepping Up Process to End Recidivism (SUPER) celebrated its fourth graduation on Feb. 27, with three women marching down the aisle in pink capes to celebrate their success at the Forsyth County Public Health Department.
The yearlong program provides support services after release to those with mental health and substance use issues who were incarcerated at the Forsyth County Detention Center. Initially SUPER worked with women as a pilot program, but has expanded to men this year and is expected to have its first male graduates next year.
SUPER is part of the Stepping Up Initiative. It’s based on a national model that County Commissioner Whisenhunt learned about at a National Association of Counties (NACo) workshop. Whisenhunt, who serves on the board of NACo, brought the idea to county staff, who crafted the program, and to her fellow commissioners, who fund the program. It also receives grant funding from The Winston-Salem Foundation, and started with an initial grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Foundation.
The Stepping Up Initiative also includes the county’s Mental Health Court, a pre-plea treatment program for both men and women, which results in the dismissal of charges for successful graduates. The graduation ceremony featured remarks from Stepping Up’s Amber Humble and Pam Goodine, retired Deputy County Manager Ronda Tatum and taped remarks by Assistant County Manager Shontell Robinson and Commissioner Whisenhunt, who were attending the commissioner’s Winter Work Session.