Nearly 80% of Oklahoma’s incarcerated women are non-violent offenders. Children with an incarcerated mother are five times as likely to end up in prison themselves. ReMerge is a non-profit organization offering tools to transform pregnant women and mothers who face incarceration into productive citizens. Through a series of curriculums, participants are given resources for mental health and substance abuse treatment. Budgeting, health and wellness and parenting are additional services offered by ReMerge. The new Journey Home is expected to double their impact on the women and families of Oklahoma County.
With over 114 program graduates, impacting over 288 children, ReMerge outgrew their former space. We knew their new space must promote continued success for their program. Through a series of listening sessions, REES was able to create a design that ensured their new space, Journey Home, would elevate their organization’s vision and increase their reach.
“ReMerge has been pleased with REES from the very beginning of our engagement. Their concepts blew the building task force away initially and the design process has been inclusive, collaborative and exciting. REES has been responsive when needed and we look forward to an amazing building product.”– Sarah Roberts, ReMerge Board Member
Building Trust with Transparency
There is an abundance of glass on the building’s exterior to invite light into the space resulting in a positive and productive environment. It was also important to symbolically represent transparency. We wanted the women of ReMerge to see the space in a less intimidating atmosphere without empty walls or closed doors. This makes for a comfortable space and builds trust between the organization and program participants.
Shaping a Comforting and Community Feel
With women coming from backgrounds with unhealthy relationships and poverty, it was crucial to create a sense of community and togetherness in their new “home”. Participants work in the ReMerge program for twelve to twenty-four months. Rooms are focused around group bonding such as the large kitchen used for the program’s healthy cooking courses, an open dining space for family meals and large group rooms for therapy. The wellness center, designed for weight training, yoga and pilates courses, features an oversized garage-style door which can be opened to invite breeze into the space. There is also a clinic for mental health and physical wellbeing located on campus at the Northcare facility next to ReMerge. Office support spaces and private counseling rooms are also included in the new building.
Using Color to Calm and Heal
REES’ designers created a soft color palette to create a soothing ambiance. The mix of blush, coral and blue balance with the outside views to create a healing environment. Our design team chose commercial-quality furniture and finishes with a residential comfort further emphasizing the home feel.
REES believes the new environment will be the perfect foundation for the healing and transformation to the women who will be creating new lives in a program that position them for success.
If you would like to learn more about ReMerge, click here.
IIDA TX OK Design Excellence, 2020
In the News
ReMerge opens new 19,000 square foot facility in Oklahoma City
The City Sentinel – June 22, 2020
ReMerge to move into new building, serve 50% more women
The Oklahoman – October 30, 2019
New facility to allow local group help more mothers battling addiction
KOCO – October 30, 2019
How diverting mothers from prison may break the cycle of incarceration
PBS News Hour – September 14, 2017