WINSLOW — Following a pandemic hiatus, a group that offers support for families of individuals behind bars will return to Winslow in August.
“Rose’s Room” is a monthly, nonsectarian support group for those with a loved one in prison or jail. The next meeting is set for Thursday, Aug. 26, from 6:30-8 p.m. at the St. Joseph Center on 80 Garland Street in Winslow. Future meetings will all be held on the last Thursday evening of each month at the same time and location.
“I think everybody feels alone and that they’re the only one. They can’t talk to anybody about it. It’s shame. It’s humiliation,” says Rose Dubay from Poland, who has a son in prison and for whom the program is named. “I think with Rose’s Room, we can help people get out of that stigma and realize that this isn’t their fault.”
The program got its start when Rose, searching for such a group, reached out to Bruce Noddin of the Maine Prisoner Re-Entry Network. Not finding a program like it in Maine, he established the first Rose’s Room in Auburn in May 2018.
“There is kind of a basic script that is a combination of the script from Alcoholics Anonymous and from a hospice support group. Those were kind of combined,” says Noddin. “We understand that there is an anonymity there.”
In the three years that have passed since Rose’s Room started, it has expanded into other communities, including Bridgton, Farmington, Lewiston, Rockland, Sanford, and Westbrook. The group in Winslow met for the first time in late February of 2020, but before it could pick up steam and grow, the pandemic reached Maine. With conditions allowing for live meetings again, organizers hope the group will begin providing hope in the months ahead.
“It’s the only group in Kennebec County,” said Sister Judy Donovan, CSJ. “Everyone will be welcomed, loved, and equally respected. Former inmates are welcome, too, as their stories about successful recovery and re-entry into society create hope for all.”
Sister Judy say she hopes it becomes a place of healing for families.
“I hope they feel at home in this space, and as they meet, they get to feel at home with each other, and they take real ownership of it,” says Sister Judy. “That would be wonderful.”
Rose’s Room is also offering virtual meetings on the first Wednesday of each month. To attend that meeting or for more information about any Rose’s Room meeting in Maine, call 207-998-2547.
“People are not alone. We have all been through what you are going through, and we can help each other,” said Rose.
To contact Rose directly to set up an individual conversation, email email@example.com.