May 27, 2021, Klamath Falls, Ore. – As part of her senior project in Communication Studies at Oregon Tech, student Lauren Frost developed Starting Over Services (SOS), an advocate service for the formerly incarcerated, offering transportation, job seeking assistance, connections to additional local services, and more.
Lauren originally became interested in this when she saw that without things like the large-scale mass transit large metropolitan cities have, formerly incarcerated residents in Klamath Falls encountered more difficulties in changing their lives. “Without proper transportation a formerly incarcerated person has a bigger percentage of a chance to miss Corrections appointments, shifts at work, drug tests, classes, and many other things that keep them compliant,” shared Lauren. “
Created in 2020, Starting Over Services connects the formerly incarcerated with services in their local area, helping them get back on their feet and stay there. Currently serving the Klamath Falls community, Lauren hopes that success of the program will help it grow.
“This nonprofit is part of who I am and definitely a career I want to continue,” said Lauren. “My goals are to build up the program, get vans and an office, and to someday expand. My biggest dream is to take on legislation to benefit the formerly incarcerated and society at the same time.”
Having grown up in Klamath Falls, Lauren first gained a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and originally planned on becoming a probation officer. Furthering her studies at Oregon Tech, she decided to join the Communication Studies program and is graduating this year. Through her program and classes at Oregon Tech, Lauren has found support—and a new career path—to develop Starting Over Services.
Assistant professor of Communication, Dr. Matt Frye shares, “Lauren has been working for the last few years to set up a nonprofit in Klamath Falls dedicated to helping former felons reintegrate with the community, specifically trying to address the major causes of recidivism in Oregon. She has made connections with a few groups in town and is working with our county corrections office to advocate for folks who often don’t have a lot of positive support.”
Lauren will continue to build SOS to its full potential, staying in Klamath Falls after she graduates. “As soon as we obtain funding, SOS will fill in the gap to help individuals stay compliant at a higher rate,” said Lauren. “We want to build people up and give them the tools to be successful and to stay successful.”
Starting Over Services can be found at http://startingoverservices.com/.