Champions of Change

Linda Leathers

Linda Leathers, Chief Executive Officer, The Next Door Chattanooga’s Residential Transition Center, Chattanooga, TN

The Next Door Chattanooga’s Residential Transition Center provides critical re-entry services to women who are ending their incarceration, including job readiness, life skills and family reunification, education, and substance abuse treatment and recovery support.   Seed money for the program was provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. 

Linda Leathers has been Chief Executive Officer of The Next Door, Inc. in Nashville, TN, since it opened its doors in May 2004. Leathers is a popular conference and retreat leader, speaking on topics pertaining to the reintegration of women into society from incarceration and to the development of grassroots community organizations to facilitate their needs. She serves on the Advisory Council of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati and is a 2011 graduate of Leadership Nashville. In 2010 the governor of Tennessee appointed her to serve on the state’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

For two years prior to its inception, Leathers led a group of women in her church to conduct community needs assessment and research on the best use of a vacant building owned by the congregation. The study revealed a gap in services to women coming from incarceration, and The Next Door, Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit, was created to meet this need. Since 2004 the organization has assisted more than 1,000 women with re-entry and recovery support services with a plan designed to help women develop lives of wholeness and hope.

With two facilities in Nashville, one in Knoxville, and one in Chattanooga, The Next Door offers help through a six-month structured program which addresses issues in workforce development, drug and alcohol addiction recovery, mental health counseling, financial independence, and family reunification.  The program has become a national model of a recovery-oriented system of care for women in crisis.

In 2007 The Next Door was awarded the Director’s Recognition by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Leathers received the ONDCP Director’s Award. The Next Door has also been featured in the ONDCP’s National Drug Control Policy Strategy in both 2008 and 2011.

 

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