NEWS: East Texas Treatment Facility celebrates 40 years by giving back
By Amber Lollar
In a shallow, Industrial Drive valley sits Management and Training Corporation’s East Texas Treatment Facility (ETTF), MTC’s flagship unit, this sprawling yet unimposing facility gives no outside hint of the near-constant and complex movement within its razor-wired walls.
Ever-growing, this unit has rested between train tracks and hilltops for an unbelievable 40 years.
Management and staff of ETTF have chosen to commemorate the facility’s 40th anniversary by giving back to the communities in which they live and work.
“In keeping the company philosophy of “BIONIC”(Believe It Or Not I Care), ETTF is excited to be a part of this celebration,” said ETTF Senior Warden Michael Upshaw. “Throughout the year our staff and inmates will be participating in giving back to the local community in four areas literacy, hunger, mental health, and homelessness. We have completed our first quarter, literacy, by collecting over 300 books. These books were delivered to the Son Shine Lighthouse and Christian Women’s Job Corps. It is our hope that they will make a difference and bring a smile to some faces.”
Of the hundreds of books collected, several boxes were delivered to Christian Women’s Job Corps a volunteer organization created to assist area women looking to join the workforce by educating them through ESL and GED programs, interview etiquette, mock interviews, computer literacy, and many other programs and opportunities. Volunteers, including many current and retired teachers, teach literacy courses for those who struggle with the English language, as well as HSE/GED readiness. As part of the Basic Life & Job Preparation program offered through CWJC, community leaders conduct mock interviews with the women, giving them constructive feedback on how to get the most out of your interview. This includes proper dress, dos and don’ts when answering questions, speech, grammar, and all things interview-related.
“These will be used as part of our Read-with-Me program that is getting underway when we come back from spring break,” said CWJC Executive Director Christie Gambrell of the generous donation of books from ETTF. “ESL students, and possibly a few English-speaking students, will be participating in a reading event designed to promote student reading and family literacy.”
The second set of books was distributed to Overton’s Son Shine Lighthouse, a Christ-centered program designed to help women and also women with children. It is a voluntary program, serving women from a variety of backgrounds. For all women in need of their services, the Lighthouse is a safe, loving, home environment where residents are in a highly structured and supervised atmosphere with an emphasis on transformation through a life-giving discipleship program.
“MTC works hard to give back to the communities that we serve, it is our mission to do everything we can to support local businesses and the community,” said Assistant Warden Elizabeth Tyson, expressing MTC’s determination to not only impact those within its walls but the surrounding community.
“We have now started planning for the second quarter of giving back in the area of hunger,” said Upshaw of the facility’s intent to keep up the charitable momentum. “Our staff has several events planned to assist our community in feeding our less fortunate. Just to mention a few, staff and inmates will participate in a food drive, planting a garden at the facility, volunteering to feed a meal, delivering meals, or assisting other organizations, where needed, to ensure meals get to the people that are in need.”
With MTC’s continued growth and BIONIC attitude, the Rusk County community can expect more charitable giving and community support from this ever-expanding group.