On our Donor Recognition page, we list donations in three categories called The Voices of Truth. The categories are named for women who were meaningful to the early development of Truth Be Told. The Voice of Teri category designates donors who have contributed $1,000–$4,999 in a year.
Why Teri? She was in the very first Talk To Me class and is still talking!
In February 2000, Nathalie Sorrell didn’t know what to expect when she created the posters announcing the new class in the GEO Lockhart prison. She certainly didn’t anticipate that 14 years later Truth Be Told would still be talking to Teri, a reluctant participant.
Carol Waid attended that class as a facilitator-in-training. In this audio recording, Carol asks Teri about that first class, and Teri credits divine intervention for getting her there. She didn’t like going to classes and was avoiding this one when something made her turn around in the hallway and walk towards it. She remembers an attraction to the name “Truth Be Told.” She didn’t like the first few classes, but something kept bringing her back. She didn’t want to tell her story or even remember her painful past, but hearing Carol’s story inspired her to take baby steps into the exercises.
Listen to Teri describe how the doors opened. [youtube=http://youtu.be/Cf6ZFUFTqvQ]
Since being released, Teri has married. She is still clean and sober and feels more alive than ever. Teri has been at every fundraiser that featured graduates and never misses an opportunity to share the Truth Be Told story.
Keep on talking, Teri. We love to hear your voice!
For 2013, the Voice of Teri donors are:
- Susan deGraffenried
- Gathering Place Worship Center
- Louise Morse
- Red Bird Foundation
- Charles and Betti Saunders Foundation (managed by Austin Community Foundation)
- Donna Snyder
- Diana Stangl
Below, a few of the Voice of Teri donors explain what prompted their support:
Paula D’Arcy is the president and founder of Red Bird Foundation as well as an author and speaker whose work seeks to further inner and worldwide peace.
Unless you’ve worked or volunteered in a prison, there aren’t words to capture the power and importance of the work done by Truth Be Told. Imagine women, most of whom have never had much of a chance in life, little education, separated from their children, low self-esteem, addictions, very low on hope…and then imagine a sincere transformation in their lives because of a program that delivers not only truth, but the means and encouragement to make different choices.
Imagine healing, education about what a woman can be (and how she can comport herself and care for her own body and for her children), the redemptive power of learning to tell your story — not as a victim, but as a radiant woman — beginning to believe that you have a meaningful place in this world because you’ve finally experienced someone believing in you — these are huge gifts anywhere, but inside a prison they are rare.
The work is raw, it is emotional, it is exhausting, and month after month the teachers show up and give everything they’ve got. It is the ultimate reaching a hand back into the dark to help someone else. Support for this work reaches far beyond the women fortunate enough to take these classes. Heart by heart, this is how we’ll all awaken.
Donna Snyder is retired from a career as an attorney, state government executive, and corporate officer. She serves on the Truth Be Told Board and as a certified Talk To Me facilitator in the GEO Lockhart prison.
It is a privilege and a gift to be with these women and witness the transformations which occur while they are in our classes. They are like new plants pushing through the dirt, opening to the sunlight and exploding with their unique gifts and different ways of being beautiful. Yes, they have often hurt others. However, in almost every case, their life stories are of sexual and/or physical abuse, usually at a very young age and usually by a trusted relative. In every story, they suffered their trauma in tortured silence, either because they were too afraid to speak or their voices were resolutely shut down. They deserve a chance to be heard. They deserve a chance to heal. Truth Be Told gives them a toolbox!
Louise Morse is a former member of the Truth Be Told Board.
After learning all I could about Truth Be Told, how it was started and grew into a highly successful program by changing the lives of women in prison and after prison, it became more important to me to be involved with the program than any other nonprofit project I had ever worked with. It was easy for me to redirect some of my funds to this program which had previously gone to other causes. Not only easy, but I was eager to do so as well as donate time to serving on their Board of Directors. I wholeheartedly and unequivocally support this program and feel grateful that I have finally found one that I absolutely must and will continue to care about in the future.
Watch your mailbox or inbox for our Donor and Volunteer Drive letter or go online to help us reach our $25,000 goal for the campaign.