Maria Ford is a mother, mentor and strong advocate of successful reentry. She currently works for the State of Ohio as an Employment Professional assisting those who are unemployed–about 60% of whom have some type of criminal history–to return to work. Maria is the co-founder of the annual Restored Citizen Summit that brings together formerly incarcerated people, employers, educators, not-for-profit organizations, and public officials for a one-day event to collaborate and exchange resources for assisting successful community reentry.
Maria is a member of Haven Community Church in Marysville and coordinates a volunteer mentor program at the Ohio Reformatory for Women to match women from the community with women who are 12-18 months away from leaving incarceration. The goal is to build lasting relationships and provide continued support after release. Her passion is addressing mental health issues; more than half of all prison and jail inmates have mental health problems.
Maria holds a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling from Liberty University and is working toward her Doctorate degree in the Mental Health field. She has served on boards and initiatives to assist those reentering the community and to prevent homelessness.