Before Brenda Spahn became known as “Miss Brenda,” she was a highly successful businesswoman in Birmingham, Alabama. She became an ordained minister, and committed herself to visiting and preaching to women at the nearby Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Alabama. Inmates flocked to her. And Brenda thought that she’d found the higher calling she’d sought. But little by little she noticed that the women who were released from prison kept coming back. What was going on for them after they left prison? Brenda learned that two out of every three women released are back in prison after three years. She immediately resolved to build a “whole way house,” a place where women could prepare to re-enter society on better terms. And what better house than her own seven bedroom home? It took months to convince the parole board to let the first six prisoners into her custody, but they finally did. And when they first arrived at her home, Brenda wondered if she hadn’t made a terrible, terrible mistake. But it wasn’t long before they found their way and six former inmates grew to forty three. Their struggles were only just beginning, but they made it work. And now she oversees The Lovelady Center, a fully functioning facility in which she could house hundreds of women at a time. And now, ten years later The Lovelady Center has helped over 4,000 women navigate the difficult transition from prison back to real life. With a recidivism rate of only 10% Miss Brenda and the Loveladies have been interna- tionally recognized for its success. In the vein of The Blind Side and
The Girls from Ames, and written with The New York Times bestselling collaborator Irene Zutell.
About the Authors
Brenda Spahn is a motivational speaker and ordained minister. She is the founder and manager of The Lovelady Center, a 280,000-square-foot building and with close to 400 residents.
Irene Zutell is a bestselling co-authorof Vanessa Williams’ You Have No Idea (Gotham, April 2012). Her writing has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The New York Times, USA Today, among many others.