Rachel Snodgrass is a Cincinnati native who is in her final year at Xavier, working to finish her master's degree in occupational therapy. Rachel is also a graduate intern in the Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice on campus. Her involvement with the CFJ is what originally sparked Rachel's interest in having dialouge about the social issues present in our world, especially through her participation as a Summer Service Intern in 2012 and then the Student Coordinator of the program in 2013. Rachel also worked at Xavier's Digial Media Lab during her undergraduate years and enjoys making video productions.
Rachel's project centered around the question of how occupational therapy can play a role in helping women who are returning citizens to successfully re-enter society after being released from prison. Her inspiration came from the British film, Greenfingers, which is based on the true story of a group of inmates from an open prison in England. The inmates image of self and the meaning of their lives is totally transformed through the occupation of gardening. The movie, along with Xavier's occupational justice class, made Rachel question the ways that OT can be used to empower those who are marginalized. She specifically felt drawn to those who are incarcerated, as she believes there are so many injustices found in our criminal justice system and those who are incarcerated are sometimes some of the most marginalized in our society.
Rachel spent 7 weeks in the summer of 2014 in a small, poor town called Stoke-on-Trent in the West Midlands of England working with an organization called Chepstow House. Chepstow is an NGO that does one-on-one casework and provides support for women who are returning citizens or who are at risk of being imprisoned. She was fortunate enough to form close relationships with the clients and staff there and also got to travel to learn about other women's centers doing similar work, such as Anawim in Birmingham.
You can find a video she made about Chepstow House from staff and client interviews here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwPq4-wiTxI
What They're Doing Now
Rachel is presently hoping to continue her fellowship experience in a multitude of ways. When she finishes classes in May she will be going to Findlay, OH to do one of her fieldwork experiences at Hancock County Jail. For three months Rachel will run groups with males in the jail as well as provide one-on-one support for clients of the probation office. Until then, she is trying to immerse herself in the work of re-entry agencies in Cincinnati, as well as discerning where her love for spirituality and ministry work, interest in the CJS, and MOT degree will take her. Her dream is to one day start a faith & occupation based women's center similar to the one she was placed with in England.