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My Town Hero: A Sister devotes her life to helping women in need | My Town Hero

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My Town Hero: A Sister devotes her life to helping women in need
My Town Hero, People
My Town Hero: A Sister devotes her life to helping women in need

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Every town has a hero with a remarkable story to tell and tonight we introduce you to one in Little Rock.  Tonight's My Town Hero has gone from teaching in the classroom to teaching behind bars, helping women embark on a second chance at life.

Inside a house on Garland Street in Little Rock, healing is taking place and lives are being transformed.

"I'm learning some things about myself that's so amazing. You know my life has a purpose now," said Jeanette Hollister.

Life after prison for Jeanette Hollister and the women at the Center for Women in Transition is just beginning, and they're taking it one class at a time. The process of transitioning to society started long before their release. While behind bars, they met Sister Lee Ann McNally, a former school teacher, who decided to devote her life to helping women in need.

In 2001, Sister Lee Ann began volunteering to teach life skills classes at the Pulaski County Jail. She later realized there was a greater need for the women once they were released, so she started the non-profit agency CWIT.

"There's no program for women coming out of jail or prison and none like ours that work with the underlying issues of women like drug and alcohol use as well as sexual abuse," said Sister Lee Ann.

For years, Jeanette was raped by a family member. She turned to drugs to deal with her pain and then turned to crime to support her habit. Hollister spent more than 20 years of her life behind bars.

"I was crying out even during the drugs that was my way of crying out for help,” Hollister reflected.

With classes like anger management, beyond abuse, and relapse prevention, Jeanette and other ex-offenders are learning how to live differently and stay on the right path.

Though she can't save them all, Sister Lee Ann is determined to make a difference in the lives of those who don't have anyone else to help them find their way.

"She is dedicated to what she does and she has a heart of love for us ladies," added Hollister.

The Center for Women in Transition is funded by donations and grants, so if you'd like to donate or become a mentor, click here.

Sister Lee Ann was nominated by Shirley Walker of Little Rock.

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Do you know someone in your community who goes above and beyond? Maybe they’re always helping people, or greets everyone with a smile. Perhaps they’ve beat unthinkable odds or have accomplished something exceptional.

We want to highlight them. To have your My Town Hero featured, email the following information to mytown@thv11.com:

  • Their name,
  • Their hometown,
  • Their contact information,
  • A photo of them, and
  • What makes them extra special

Include “My Town Hero” in the email subject line and we’ll take care of publishing it for you. Their story might even be told on air by THV11's Denise Middleton.

My Town Hero, People

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