“Going out to the jail was my favorite day of the week.” – Francesca
Francesca began training me as a PEACE program facilitator in January. From the minute I met her I knew she was a special person. Her contagious smile, child-like spirit, and perpetual laughter stood out in the Travis County Jail like a snowy day in Texas. She greeted everyone like an old friend- the officers, security guards, and the mother’s with their little babies waiting on the visitor line. Everyone she talked to smiled back- it seemed like they just couldn’t help it! With this attitude Francesca melted through layers of sadness, resignation, boredom and frustration that marked so many of the faces as we walked toward 12A where the maximum security women waited for our class. It was such a joy to watch her seamlessly weave together the day’s topic with personal insights, while leaving space for the ladies to reflect and express their own original thoughts and feelings. Francesca’s unique way of getting through to people allowed her access to those women’s hearts in a way that was meaningful, moving and inspiring. I believe she has made a lasting impact on those women. I hope I can carry on her legacy by bringing laughter, joy, creativity and insight into the jail to help illuminate the most difficult of circumstances.
(Left to right: Carol Waid; Jennifer Scott, Social Services Program Coordinator at TCSO; Francesca Wigle; B. Gentle, Volunteer Coordinator at TCSO; and Melissa Klein)
Note: Francesca began volunteering with Truth Be Told in 2011 and then assumed the lead role as facilitator for the PEACE program at TCCC. She quickly became a donor as well, thereby supporting the organization in numerous ways. Francesca was 1 of 5 nominees to receive a certificate and acknowledgment for her work at Travis County Sheriff Office (TSCO) during its Volunteer Appreciation event. We will miss her greatly and hope that she will carry on her legacy in El Paso.
The nomination read: “It is rare to meet a person who spreads their light and love with every person they encounter. In 2013 I met a person I just described. I knew right away that Francesca Wigle was a very special soul. She brings with her a joy that is contagious to the women. The women feel her non-judgment, her caring and her genuine interest in their lives. Unfortunately for the sheriff’s office, Francesca is ending her time here. She will be missed incredibly.”