For over three years, Jodi Beldotti, herself a victim of domestic violence, has been providing job skills and computer training to victims of domestic violence in the greater Boston area.
In 1986, after many years of emotional, psychological and physical abuse, Ms. Beldotti made the decision to get out. Over the next ten years, she spent a lot of time thinking about the thousands of women who were in abusive relationships and were unable to leave. Ms. Beldotti concluded that one thing distinguished her from some of her fellow victims was that she had a strong support system and the economic means to support herself. Once she had this realization, Ms. Beldotti decided to dedicate herself to helping other victims gain the skills that are necessary for success in the work force. She wanted to make sure that no more victims were held captive to abusive spouses due to a lack of economic resources.
In May of 1995, Ms. Beldotti founded The Yellow Brick Road Project. The goal of the program is to provide women with the comprehensive computer and job readiness skills that are needed to sustain their families and themselves without the assistance of their abusive partner. Over the past four years the program has successfully networked to gain donations of hardware, books and supplies, informed shelters of their existence, and taught five ten week courses in three Boston area shelters. Yellow Brick Road has also assisted in helping the graduates find employment.
Of the 34 graduates, 97% have remained free of their abusive relationships and 90% of those who have remained in the area have been placed in jobs, are currently employed or are going to college to further their education. One former student, Ms. 'S' is now a reporter for a newspaper in her area. She recently applied for an editorial position with the newspaper and she is looking forward to taking the steps towards fulfilling her career goals.
Ms. Beldotti conducts three sessions a week. She also travels all over the country giving seminars and workshops to shelters who are interested in starting similar programs in their areas.
The Yellow Brick Road Project receives full funding from corporate and private donations.