Precious Bedell is devoted to improving the lives of people affected by incarceration.
Bedell, who works as a human subjects research coordinator in the Department of Psychiatry, founded and directs the Turning Points Resource Center, a nonprofit that supports the families of those incarcerated. The organization, which is based out of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, aims to “break the cycle of poverty that so entraps the incarcerated and their families, by providing resources, information, education, and consultation,” says the Rev. Mary Ann Brody of St. Stephen’s.
Turning Points provides emotional and financial support for families left behind when someone is incarcerated. One person who has been assisted by Turning Points said in a letter supporting Bedell’s nomination for the University’s Staff Community Service Award, “It’s good to know that there is a center to go to to have support and just have someone say that I am not alone in my challenges with having a family member in prison for a long, long time.”
Bedell will be recognized, along with the recipients of the Witmer Award for Distinguished Service and the Meliora Award, at the 2016 staff awards reception on Wednesday, April 27.
Bedell’s community service is wide-ranging. She worked on behalf of Rochester’s “Ban the Box” campaign, which aims to prevent employment discrimination against those with criminal records. She volunteers with the Monroe County Reentry Task Force, the Safer Monroe Re-Entry Team, Pillars of Hope, the Rochester Area Interfaith Hospitality Network, the African American Health Coalition of the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency, and Facing Race Embracing Equality, and she is on the planning committee of Big Brothers and Big Sisters. She has been a guest lecturer in the University’s Department of Political Science, and has spoken about addressing health disparities at a summer film series hosted by the Department of Psychiatry department.
“I feel so moved by the quality of her actions and level of her commitment to the community in her work, beyond her works, and outside the clinic walls,” writes Bedell’s supervisor, Diane Morse, associate professor of psychiatry and of medicine. “It is clear that Precious embodies the goals of community service and deserves this recognition.”