Both Dr. Furtick Wheelan and Ms. Young are certified, trauma-competent professionals who have presented their work locally, nationally, and internationally. They are trained to administer the Women’s Risk/Needs Assessment (WRNA) for justice-involved women, which allows services to be targeted to a woman’s specific needs.The co-founders were named Extraordinary Citizens by The Philadelphia Branch of the NAACP in 2013, for their work with incarcerated women.

Renaya Furtick Wheelan, PhD, co-founder and executive director is a native Philadelphian. Dr. Furtick Wheelan is a motivator, coach, teacher, counselor, trainer and organizational development consultant with expertise as a group psychologist. In all her work, she uses a holistic approach in an effort to empower her clients. She has actively empowered and educated youth, women, and young adults for over twenty five years, particularly with programs that work with people transitioning as a consequence of life-changing events. In addition to conducting a series of workshops in correctional facilities, she has designed, implemented, and evaluated training, curriculum and programs for government agencies, nonprofit and for profit entities. She also spent time working as a Therapist, motivating and cultivating young adults in a dual-diagnoses (substance abuse and mental health challenges) psychiatric facility. Dr. Furtick Wheelan served for three years as a project coordinator with an intergenerational program; creating a multi-generational mentoring environment.

A Temple University alumna, Dr. Furtick Wheelan holds a PhD in Psychoeducational Processes with a concentration in Adult Group and Organizational Development, a MEd in Psychoeducational Processes and a BS in Therapeutic Recreation.

All of Dr. Furtick Wheelan’s years of work and education from undergraduate to graduate studies prepared her for her future endeavors. Because of her past and present experiences she has come to see herself as an inspirational speaker, a coach and a group and organizational development psychologist. Dr. Furtick Wheelan’s personal goal is to empower women in their search of self via a holistic approach. As she puts it, “she is in the human restoration and transformation business” and does not believe in throw away people. She is skilled in translating personal disappointment into inspirations.  Dr. Furtick Wheelan co-facilitates Transforming One Woman at a Time: Reintegration Support, a 7-week cognitive behavioral development and transformation training for women reentering society from the Philadelphia Prison System.  Dr. Furtick Wheelan incorporates her recreational therapy and group and organizational development background in all of the creative workshops that she delivers.

Petrena A. Young, MS, co-founder of I’m FREE – Females Reentering Empowering Each Other is a driven professional with a passion for empowering justice-involved women. She has taken her passion for women and 20 years’ experience in nonprofit management to co-create I’m FREE, a gender-responsive, trauma-informed, woman-centered organization.

Ms. Young co-facilitates Transforming One Woman at a Time: Reintegration Support, a 7-week cognitive behavioral development and transformation training for women reentering society from the Philadelphia Prison System. She has presented on trauma-informed care with justice-involved women locally, nationally and internationally.

Ms. Young has demonstrated facilitation, gender-responsive, trauma-informed, consultative, fundraising, research, analytical, board governance and leadership skills. She is a lifelong learner who participates in personal and professional development opportunities whenever possible.

Ms. Young holds an MS in Nonprofit Management from Eastern University and a BA in English Literature with a minor in Women’s Studies from the College of Saint Elizabeth. A life-long learner, Ms. Young is pursuing a certification as a trauma-certified professional. She is trained to administer the Women’s Risk/Needs Assessment (WRNA), for adult women offenders, which allows services to be targeted to a woman’s specific needs. She is certified as a Mental Health First Aid – USA Instructor for both the youth and adult modules.

Ms. Young is an ethical professional who has worked in education and with nonprofit organizations to create an infrastructure to carry out their missions efficiently and effectively. As a philanthropic consultant, Ms. Young has guided schools and nonprofits in Fundraising through Annual Giving, Major Gifts, Special Events, Grant Writing, Stewardship, Prospect Research, and Database Planning & Management.  She has worked with clients on establishing nonprofits, Strategic Planning, Board Development, creating Office Processes & Procedures, and Volunteer Management.

Ms. Young is a resourceful team player who excels at building trusting relationships with customers and colleagues. She is an exceptionally patient listener and communicator who effectively conveys information verbally and in writing, with the unique ability to relate well to and successfully teach people of all ages and backgrounds. Ms. Young serves on the board of several nonprofits and embodies the Maya Angelou quote, “When you learn, teach, when you get, give.”