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A new nonprofit in Marlin is helping incarcerated women get back on their feet

Posted at 9:38 AM, Jan 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-09 10:38:11-05

MARLIN, Texas — “Call me at midnight or call me at two in the morning, I don’t care. If it keeps you from going back to your old ways and not being a part of a revolving door system..I got you,” Lavonne Lapreze said.

It all started on the prison floors in Gatesville where Kaitlyn Smith and Judith Hammock dreamed of helping other women in similar situations.

“Two girls that knew that they were in a bad place but had opportunities in life outside of there and wanted to know how they could give back to the women that didn’t have that,” Smith said.

With high hopes and aspirations, Kaitlyn and Judith began outlining their plan for the nonprofit organization R.I.S.E. but then... an abrupt change.

“She was diagnosed with cancer in March of 2020 and passed away in May of 2020, at that point I kind of gave up the dream of figuring that out,” Smith said.

Three years later, R.I.S.E. is back on its feet, already receiving a significant response from the community.

“We mentioned it to one person… and then we filled a back room with donations.”

R.I.S.E. accepts gently used clothes, shoes, underwear, blankets and any type of hygiene items.

The organization plans on having a donation box built in the back of the building.

For Katelyn, R.I.S.E. is a reminder of a dream true that she once shared with her beloved friend.

“I know that she is definitely the biggest cheerleader that we have, and I don’t doubt for a second she has her hand in every single step of this,” Smith said.