Susan Wolfgram, a human development and family studies professor at UW-Stout, believes in the premise that “one bad decision can change your life forever.”
An expert in the field of behavioral health, she has seen it come true time and again.
She also believes, however, in the power of education as it relates to behavioral change and redirecting one’s life. She thinks it’s possible for people to break what often is a generational cycle of poor life decisions.
Wolfgram and several of her students recently saw hope of renewal as they directed Stop and Think, a 10-week program for seven inmates at the Eau Claire County Jail.
The UW-Stout students, all majoring in human development and family studies, not only saw a desire to change among the inmates they worked with but saw actual change.
“The progress and growth I witnessed in these men is beyond anything I could have imagined,” said Megan Thornwall, a student from Hastings, Minn. “There was an exceptional yearning to adapt new morals not just for themselves but for their families, as almost all of these men were fathers.”
The class uses cognitive behavioral therapy but goes further by helping inmates “understand their own histories and uncover their better man,” Wolfgram said.
Eau Claire County Jail inmates graduated last fall from the Stop and Think program conducted by students in human development and family studies at UW-Stout and Professor Susan Wolfgram. Front row from left are Chris Raney, Aryn Ottenger, Rodney Stenseth, Kenny Chaney and Tim Saunders. Back row from left are Chris Parker, student Megan Thornwall, student Jessica Grobe, Philip Bowe, Wolfgram, jail program director Philip Kuehn and student Kayce Planert.

Summer Outlook 2012