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Christy VanCleave's 2014 success story

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Former inmate gives training – and hope – to female offenders.

Then: Spiraling down a path of substance abuse and incarcerations. A series of car accidents and bad choices after high school landed Christy in jail five times, mostly for drug charges in California. She had experience as a dog groomer before going to jail, and a pet supply store hired her after her release. She was promoted and transferred to Oklahoma, but was laid off because of the economy.

Christy opened Muddy Paws, a non-profit dog grooming business in Tulsa that offers boarding, day care and training. Her partnership with CareerTech Skills Centers and Tulsa Technology Center gives female offenders

  • Training for master groomer certification.
  • Entrepreneurship, leadership, computer and life skills.
  • Support during substance abuse recovery.
  • Job placement after graduation from the program.

Now: Since its inception, 68 offenders have graduated from Christy’s program, with only a 4 percent recidivism rate. Four of the graduates have opened their own dog grooming businesses, five are managers of grooming businesses, and three are managers of national chains. Graduates receive national certification and $1,000 worth of grooming tools from the Muddy Paws foundation.

Last Modified on Apr 06, 2023