We facilitate this series in two different curriculum formats in two different prisons and we find that they both work very well.
This 16-week series consists of three classes, with a goal of 15 new members, and 1-2 mentors, each semester. We hold two semesters per calendar year. We offer three modalities that the inmates can choose from. All class members track their life experiences on a graph, called a “life line” and learn to journal about their feelings around sharing their stories with others.
After 8 weeks of each woman sharing her story, class members vote on two women from their classes to share their stories at graduation to an audience from the free world. The graduation is divided into three parts:
A six week program: Having developed a deeper sense of trust, graduates shift their focus from the past to the present, engaging in writing, impromptu speaking and creative play to increase their discovery and understanding of themselves, others, and the world outside. They continue to improve their communication skills and deepen the network of support they began developing in the Talk To Me classes.
This class also concludes with a graduation ceremony as described above.
Graduates of the Discovery classes may become mentors for the next Talk To Me series. The fill out a questionnaire that asks them to put in detail why they are ready to be a mentor and what they will offer as a mentor. They are expected to demonstrate greater maturity and commitment as they shift their focus to supporting others and setting an example.