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Life in Action: TBT on YNN News

In early 2011, Truth Be Told was featured on YNN News. Watch the video clip for an excellent overview of our programs and the transformative changes they are making in women’s lives!

Prison isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of volunteer work, but that’s exactly what one Central Texas woman decided to do 11 years ago. Now, a successful nonprofit organization called Truth Be Told helps hundreds of women behind bars.

“I went into the prison to volunteer,” Nathalie Sorrell, co-founder of Truth Be Told said. “A guilty church lady just wanting to do something for people whose lives had been a lot more difficult than mine had been.”

Sorrell saw a need for a non-evangelical program for imprisoned women, so she started a program to help them develop communication skills.

“It’s about teaching the women to speak the truth about their own experience, and to stop running, or hiding from their past,” she said.

Elizabeth Wilkerson became a graduate of the Truth Be Told program, and says it changed her life.

Wilkerson was drinking and driving on her way to the beach with her two-year-old when she crashed.

“I was looking at her in the rearview mirror and the phone rang in my car and I reached down to grab it, and when I did I lost control of the car,” Wilkerson said. “The cop came to the window and he said, ‘Ma’am, it’s going to be OK. You just had an accident.’ I said ‘It’s not going to be OK. I’ve been drinking.’ And he said, ‘Oh my God. What about that man back there?’ And I said ‘What man?””

Wilkerson didn’t realize she had hit a man on a motorcycle. She was charged with intoxication, manslaughter, failure to render aid and DWI with a child. She had to leave her house, her family and life as she knew it behind as she served her sentence of five years in prison.

“I know that prison isn’t supposed to be summer camp, but there are a lot of things that I saw, that I wish I hadn’t seen,” Wilkerson said.

Now, years after serving her sentence, Wilkerson continues to speak the truth about the story of one tragic night she can’t take back. Now, she is pushing forward to teach others not to make the same mistake.

“They supported us and gave us tools to use every step of the way, how to communicate,” Wilkerson said of the Truth Be Told program.

Truth Be Told meets at prisons around Central Texas several times a month, and they’re looking for more volunteers. For more information on how to lend a helping hand, visit TruthBeTold.org.

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About Shelley Seale

I'm Shelley, a journeyer and learner of the world, freelance journalist and author, yoga chick and dog lover. I pound the keyboard from home barefoot every day, and while my boss is demanding she also occasionally lets me have the early afternoon cocktail. I think not going into an office or collecting corporate paychecks are very good ideas, though not always profitable. I have written for National Geographic, USA Today, The Guardian, Texas Monthly and CNN, among others. Neither the New York Times nor Johnny Depp have answered my letters yet. I love yoga, indie movies, wine, and books, though not necessarily in that order. I believe in karma. Mean people suck. If I could have any dream job I would like to be a superhero. I have performed a catch on the flying trapeze, boarded down a live volcano and was once robbed by a monkey in Nepal. But, I don't know how to whistle. My mantra is "travel with a purpose."

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