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Dog Training Program Rehabilitates Released Prisoners

Lew McGinnis

Oklahoma entrepreneur Lew McGinnis has nearly six decades of real estate investment experience. Beyond his professional achievements, Lew McGinnis is well-known as a dedicated philanthropist and supports a variety of causes through his advocacy and volunteer work, including rehabilitation opportunities for people who have served time in prison.

The Friends for Folks is a nonprofit organization based in Oklahoma that provides returning citizens with the chance to learn new skills as dog-behavior trainers. The original program was founded nearly three decades ago and recruited men from the Lexington correctional facility to care for dogs rescued from abusive homes. The program’s success prompted the opening of the Guardian Angels program, which trains women who have served time at the medium-security Mabel Bassett prison.

After working with the dogs, most participants undergo significant positive emotional and behavioral transformation, which helps ease their transition ack into society. The publicity gained from two documentaries about Friends for Folks has attracted donations from around the country. In May 2018, Friends for Folks opened the Serelda Cody Dog Training Facility to accommodate more dogs and 17 more women into the program.

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