Photo: CIW June 2019 Volunteer Team
Welcome to July! Now that the ‘June gloom’ has passed and the summer sun is shining here in Santa Barbara, we are taking stock and celebrating a LOT!
We just returned from leading our “Pathways to Freedom – Breaking the Cycle” workshop down at the California Institution for Women (CIW), where we were blessed to serve with 45 volunteers (10 of whom were brand-new!). Chemin and Stanley, facilitators-in-training, led the weekend beautifully. For all of us, it was a job well done – full of grace, heart, and even… miracles!
One of the most moving sharings of the weekend came on Sunday morning. One of our participants shared that, while she’s been in prison for 23 years, this was her first workshop with us.
The limiting cycle she wanted to break was resentment. Through listening to her heart, she was able to release the resentment she’s been holding around the murder of her child. She felt resentment towards society for punishing her with a long sentence while the person who killed her son is still free.
She shared, “This workshop taught me the importance of letting go to heal pain. Thank you. This not only healed my body but also my spirit by nurturing it with new hopes and possibilities.”
It doesn’t get much better than that!
What We’re Celebrating This Month
- Our 2018 annual report is here! Last year we became a top-rated charity by Great Nonprofits and served 610 (324 women, 286 men) incarcerated individuals with 32,594 hours of FTC programs provided by a team of 198 dedicated volunteers.
- As the recipient of two California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Innovative grants, we’re slated to start running programs in two new prisons later this year (bringing us up to working in 5 prisons total)– California Men’s Colony (CMC) in San Luis Obispo and California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison (SATF) in Corcoran.
- At the end of May, we visited these sites for the first time to meet with prison staff and get a tour of the grounds. It felt as if both facilities are very ready for this work, which is exciting! Plans are now underway for scheduling workshops at both prisons, as well as for working with a small group of dedicated inmates at SATF to help us initiate a Youth Offender Program (YOP) there.
- The YOP program pairs newly incarcerated 18-22 year olds with older men who serve as positive role models (and who will be trained by FTC to mentor these young adults to successfully re-enter society).
Last year, a member of the SATF staff (who’s in charge of their YOP program) reached out to us. He was hungry for support to assist these young men, and he heard about our YOP program at Valley State Prison.
He arranged an opportunity for us to meet with four of his YOP inmate mentors during our SATF visit. This was definitely one of the highlights of our tour! We were deeply touched by the heartfelt sincerity and eagerness in these men to work with us in getting their YOP program off the ground.
- We have a robust series of ILTAG classes happening, both at VSP and at CIW. In the former, we have 171 men participating in levels 1-3. At CIW, there are a total of 56 women now participating.
- We’re also slated to both start leading ILTAG at CCWF and supporting a youth program for the women at CIW!
- On the marketing front, we’re making headway with some bigger projects to really help us move the needle on expanding our mission. A new documentary about FTC is in the works (you can see a clip of it here). And we’re also updating our logo, marketing materials, and website.
- We’ve moved into a bigger office to accommodate a growing team and have made it more functional and “homey.” If you’re in town, please stop in to visit and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea with us!
- We created new, online FTC community on “Mighty Networks.” To help connect, support, and galvanize our community, we’re gathering now in our brand-new online community.
Be sure to join us here today so you don’t miss our first community call on Tuesday, July 9 at 11am Pacific!
Details for how to join the video call are available once you sign up here.
- We’re hiring! FTC is in search of a Program Coordinator, who will primarily work with the two, new prisons we’re partnering with. Learn more here.
Thank you so much for being part of our community. And a very happy 4th of July to all those celebrating!