One of the most poignant and unforgettable experiences I have had with FTC took place a few years ago at a prison workshop. On the final day in an experiential exercise, I found myself sitting with two young women and I thought, “how can I possibly help them? I am too old, too white, too privileged.” I felt self-conscious and un-relatable and considered asking another volunteer to step in. My next thoughts were realizing that I was here, about to start an exercise and I made a conscious choice to just do my best.
As we shared, our stories focused on our heartfelt desire to be good mothers. What I saw and heard from these two women was the pain of being separated from their children, their shame and guilt in not being with them, and their concern for their welfare – they were so grateful to have the opportunity to talk freely without fear of being judged, to reveal their pain, to be open. In this situation, we were three people united by love for our children and all the superficial differences among us evaporated as we talked and supported one another. It was one of the most authentic conversations I have had.
What I love about FTC is that it provides the most transformational educational experience I have ever seen; not only for those who are incarcerated, but also for us volunteers. It is a privilege to be a part of the FTC process which literally gives us all practical emotional/psychological skill sets to improve our lives.
My intention as a volunteer development director is to acknowledge, support and thank all the FTC community members who make the program viable, to enhance awareness of the work, to develop our sustainability through funding and increase our outreach, both inside and outside the walls.
Karin Weber holds a master’s degree in special education and has nearly 30 years of experience in various roles in the non-profit world. Past roles include: board member, executive committee member, officer, chairman, organizer and volunteer.
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