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New Year’s Reflections: Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going

 

by Carol Waid, Co-Founder and Director of Programs

What a whirlwind 2015 has been! We’ve been gifted with many precious, wonderful moments.

My, how we’ve grown!

Truth Be Told’s first class was led by Co-Founder Nathalie Sorrell in February of 2000. Nathalie’s original class had fifteen students. This year, we’ve held eight graduations with approximately 100 graduates from three different facilities: Bryan Federal Prison, Lane Murray Facility, and MTC Lockhart Facility. We are thrilled to have grown so significantly in such a short time!

teri in church

Teri, a graduate of Nathalie’s first class in 2000 who has stayed in touch, and Nathalie.

(Read more about our graduations in these past blog posts from Christina Wisdom, a facilitator in training, and Jardine Libaire, a respectful witness.)

And — we’ve gone nationwide!

On Oct. 13, Truth Be Told program graduate Dara Musick and volunteer facilitator Katie Ford gave a presentation at the 16th Biannual Adult and Juvenile Female Offenders Conference in Hartford, Conn. In their presentation, Dara and Katie spoke about Truth Be Told’s Talk to Me Series and the tools we call the 4 Cs: Community Building, Communication Skills, Creativity, and Caring for Self.

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Dara Musick and Katie Ford.

Being present at that conference — the only conference in the nation that focuses exclusively on programs and policies tailored for women and girls involved in the criminal justice system — was a huge honor for us. And we were so proud that one of our program graduates had the opportunity to share her story on such a grand scale.

Three quilts were awarded to women beyond bars.

Co-Founder Carol Waid’s parents Doyle and Peggy Chandler lovingly make quilts for our graduates who stay involved in our Beyond Bars program for three years after their release.

This year, we had the privilege of awarding three brave graduates with quilts: Donna, Brandi, and Niqua. Sending or delivering those quilts is Carol’s most joyous job responsibility. Our graduates work hard to earn those quilts. They fight against the odds and make tough decisions to stay on track.

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Donna receiving her quilt. 

After receiving her quilt, Donna said, “It means so much to me because it is a symbol of how far I have come and all the accomplishments I have made in the three years since I’ve been home. But most of all it is a symbol of the love and dedication and support of Truth Be Told.”

(Read more about Donna’s story.)

We held our last class of the year — plans for next year are in full swing!

We closed out the year with an Exploring Creativity Workshop at the Lane Murray Facility in Gatesville. Peggy Lamb led a group of women behind bars in a class called Writing Through Movement. Together we explored how to use creative movements and writing as a way to connect to earth, air, water, and fire. We laughed, we wiggled, and we strengthened our community. It was a precious night.

We’ll be back to prison on January 7 and January 14 to offer our Miracles in Human Program, and in late January we’ll bring our classes into six facilities. We have so much to be amazed by and grateful for. Thank you for your continued support of our efforts.

A very happy New Year to you all! May it be filled with laughter, love, good health, and wonderful times with family and friends.

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About MaryAnn Reynolds

Offering bodywork in the Austin, Texas, area at maryannreynolds.com. Blogging about wellness at The Well: bodymindheartspirit. Serving as a volunteer editor for the Truth Be Told Community blog.

One response »

  1. I’m so pleased and proud of what all of you have created and persevered in and grown with and….well, so many accolades I could heap on your lovely heads! I hope Nathalie has the perfect retirement and that all of you staying on with TBT continue with its important work and expansion. Cheers! Beverly

    Reply

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