Juanita Edrington-Grant has a wonderful smile, a pleasant disposition, and a heart for helping people, who some call “returning citizens” to society, after being called inmate or prisoner. She is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of CRAM: Christian Recovery Aftercare Ministry, a ministry that offers ex-offenders services. Juanita’s warm smile and pleasant disposition do not hide the fact that she is a tough-minded, no-nonsense businesswoman who gets things done, one saved soul at a time.
Edrington-Grant is a Christian worker whose life work tells all who will watch and listen; this is how we do it. I love the saying, “I would rather see a sermon than hear a sermon.” Juanita is a sermon in motion. She works tirelessly to build her organization and improve her clients’ upward mobility, who are often starting their lives over from scratch. She has a heart for the people she serves because she has been through the same situations and circumstances and understands what is needed and the fears associated with starting over.
Edrington-Grant spent six years in Muncy State Prison, 1986-1992, the final chapter of a 15-year battle with drug abuse and jail sentences. While incarcerated at Muncy, Juanita was blessed to meet the late Thelma O Wright, a great Christian Evangelist from Harrisburg, who became her mentor. Juanita gave her life to God, and her life perspective changed. While still incarcerated, Juanita completed a paralegal program and earned credits toward an associate degree.
She began to formulate a vision of helping ex-offenders transition back into society. The vision was outside of Juanita’s comfort zone. It took Thelma O. Wright to push her to accept the challenge of helping others as she was being helped.
With her paralegal degree from Penn State University and her new determination to succeed in life, returning citizen Juanita Edrington-Grant secured a job with the Department of Labor and Industry. In 2002 CRAM became a 501 (c)(3) organization, offering mentoring services and providing substance abuse support.
Today, CRAM is housed in The HUB Campus, Harrisburg Uptown Building, providing an expanded one-stop service center to meet ex-offenders’ needs, families, homeless veterans, and other underserved populations in the capital region.
Juanita Edrington-Grant has developed a reputation befitting the last part of her name. She is an outstanding grant-writer who has successfully been awarded many grants over the past 15 years. Her drive, tenacity, and ability to learn by trial and error have paid off for this community activist, businesswoman, and Christian worker.
Keeping true to her vision, she has expanded her help ministry to include anyone who desires to learn the grant writing process. Her hands-on course is affordable and highly user-friendly.
I believe it was in the Fall of 2018 that I took her grant writing course. I was the only student in the newly renovated HUB office that day, but six other students, all on-line, from California. I was impressed by Juanita’s easy-to-follow, in-depth teaching style. I could hear the words of the Gospel song, “I once was lost, and now I’m found…” Christians, this is how we do it!
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