Join our next Volunteer Training: May 1-2!

The Service Learning Training 2020

Freedom from the Inside:

A Service Learning Training

8:30am-3:30pm | May 1, 2020
9am-5pm | May 2, 2020


1032 East Mason Street
Santa Barbara, CA 


If you’re a lifelong learner who aspires to live a life of greater meaning…


If you want to volunteer in a California prison…


If you want to find freedom from your own inner prison (and help others do the same)….


And if you’re ready to make a positive difference in the world…


Our Service Learning Training is for you!

Who We Are & Why We Need You

For the past 15 years, The Freedom to Choose Project (FTC) has offered award-winning rehabilitative programs – based on spiritual psychology– to nearly 4,000 individuals in 5 California prisons.

We help break the cycle of recidivism & empower incarcerated individuals to become thriving members of society.

In a big show of confidence, the state of California recently awarded FTC with 2 grants, helping us scale and grow our impact by taking on 2 new prisons. In 2020, we’re expanding to offer 2x the number of prison projects than ever before.

That’s 2 weekend workshops per prison, each supported by over 50 volunteers. We’ll also offer weekly integration classes to support the ongoing training of our participants.

A dedicated team of volunteers allows us to bring these life-changing tools to those who need it most.

This training is for anyone interested in joining our ever-growing volunteer team, while deepening on their own inner journey.

(By participating in this training, you are not obligated to volunteer with FTC, although we hope that you’re inspired enough to want to!).

Our “Walk Your Talk” Approach

Our educational approach is a “walk your talk” model, so we train volunteers in the social and emotional intelligence skills that they will model for incarcerated participants.

While volunteers are being of selfless service, they are simultaneously learning, healing, and expanding in their own lives. It’s truly a win-win exchange that brings people from all walks of life together in a heartfelt connection.

(We’ll also have a brief module covering the logistics of volunteering in prison. A brief prison-specific logistics orientation will be required prior to joining us on a prison service project.)

What You’ll Learn

  • Ways to liberate yourself from your own inner prison (and empower others to do the same), regardless of past circumstances
  • How to engage in selfless service, while taking good care of yourself in the process
  • Tools to bring your “best self” forward – in any situation
  • Leading edge emotional intelligence skills that will benefit all relationships, both personal and professional
  • Ways to deepen your compassion for yourself and others
  • Practical skills to transform your own life – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually
  • What it’s like to volunteer in prison

…. all while meeting like-minded people and making new friends!

What Our Volunteers Say:

“It was amazing to find such deeply heart-centered souls in this big city and connect in such a profound way. You created the optimum environment for this kind of work and I am so thankful.”

“I love that 15 minutes with a stranger can be so powerful. What a great reminder in the beauty we can all have/be.”

“What I liked most about the training program is the unbelievable experiences I was able to share with others in their own healing as well as my own.”

“In the proper setting and with the proper training, the power of transformation and acceptance is magical.”

About Our Facilitators

David Paul, M.D., Ph.D. & Bonnie Paul, Ph.D.
This training is developed and facilitated by FTC’s co-founders, Drs. David and Bonnie Paul. In it, they share what they have learned about selfless, loving service through their work with thousands of men and women in medium-to-maximum security prisons over the past 15 years. Since 2004, David and Bonnie have worked with over 3,500 incarcerated men and women, receiving numerous awards for this work.

Event Details

Day 1:  Friday, May 1, 2020 from 8:30am-3:30pm
(Registration begins at 8am)  

Day 2:  Saturday, May 2, 2020 from 9am- 5pm

1032 East Mason Street
Santa Barbara, CA 

If you are also interested in volunteering with FTC, our Service Learning Training is the first step! It’s a great opportunity to become familiar with our organization and the hands-on approach we use in all our prison programs.

(If you are an FTC Alumni (a formerly incarcerated FTC workshop participant), you have the option to register (without lunch) free of charge. If you would like to do so, please contact [email protected].)

Your Registration Includes:

  • Two days of training
  • Lunch (with vegetarian/vegan options), coffee/tea, and light snacks on both days

Early Bird Registration until April 2: $150
Regular Registration until April 29: $195
At-The-Door Registration: $215.00

(Online Registration closes April 29)

This training is offered in English.

Participants who have successfully completed the training will receive an electronic certificate.

For those in financial need, scholarships are available. 

If you have questions or need a scholarship, please contact [email protected]

“… THANK YOU for allowing me to participate in this amazing, wonderful project…. The work you are doing is, well, wonderful…and the saying life changing just doesn’t do it justice. It’s more than that… it’s life changing, community changing, and societal changing.

And I, for one, am so glad to have seen it, both externally and internally, since the difference it makes is, well, so deep, moving and flat out palpable at the deepest levels. It was truly an honor to visit/be part of this experience.”

– Scott Weber, lawyer