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Truth Be Told

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Crime & Law, Inmate Support, Prison Alternatives, Rehabilitation Services for Offenders, Women, Womens Rights

Mission: We are a non-religious service organization that provides transformational programs through self-discovery for women who are or have been incarcerated, resulting in increased self-worth, accountability and positive contributions to society.

Target demographics: to help women move beyond past abuse and develop a stronger sense of self and emotional resiliency

Direct beneficiaries per year: about 1,000 incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women in Texas.

Geographic areas served: five women's correctional facilities in Texas

Programs: Talk To Me, Let's Get Real, Living Deeper & Freer, Pay It Forward, Making Connections and Miracles in Human Form — all of which espouse communication skills, community building, caring for self and creative expression for personal/spiritual growth.

Community Stories

50 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2 Lauren J.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I will never forget the month of classes that I participated in with Truth Be Told inside the county jail. The women who facilitate the programs just emanate love and acceptance to everyone they serve. The supportive community they create for women on the inside is continued on the outside in a variety of ways and they are all invaluable. If you have the opportunity to be a witness at the graduations I strongly suggest you do so! You will never be the same! Statistics say that if someone is released and remains free for 3 years the chances of returning to prison decrease drastically so one of the ways TBT supports women is by gifting them with a handmade quilt at their three year mark. There is a sisterhood that exists with the community, and often that is a new foray for many of us, new, but welcomed.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Truth Be Told offers a profound experience for its clients and its volunteers. The change they engender is real and it transforms lives. The experience is one of the most moving and fulfilling I've ever experienced and witnessed.

1 Passionforprisoners

Client Served

Rating: 5

Truth be told is an awesome program that helped me when i was behind bars I am thankful for this program it changed my life for the better.There were several classes and programs I took but TBT was hands down the best .It helped me open up and share my story and I learned how to put my feelings into words on paper sharing those words opened up a new me. I knew that in my group I didn't feel like anyone was judging me and sharing to me brought a great healing and a forgiveness that I had never felt before. Even after my release Ms. Carol still keeps in touch with me and asks me how I'm doing on a regular basis. I am very thankful for this program and it's volunteers.

1 Julie97

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first experience with this nonprofit was as a volunteer attending a graduation ceremony at a nearby women's prison. It was the first time I had ever experienced what it looks and feels like when women lift women higher. My experience was so profoundly compelling, I've continued to support this nonprofit and it's mission ever since.

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It was/is the volunteers at Truth Be Told that drew me in just four short years ago. It is because I benefit from the work that I stay. I benefit from our 'What I want you to know about me right now."check ins we engage in before heading into the prison. I benefitted from my facilitator training in that I was asked to do the work that we are asking of every woman behind bars that attends our classes. My skills as a facilitator have developed as this work puts me into an unpredictable environment asking the women to share truths about the decisions they made and the circumstances beyond their control that put them behind bars. It never ceases to amaze just how much personal transformation can occur over the fourteen short weeks of our programming. When I recently asked a graduate (no high school education) which tool she'd chosen to use over the semester that had made the biggest difference, "Gwen" raised her hand and began to explain that she had chosen to use "I" style communication. She explained how she'd used it. I was blown away by her level of articulation...she'd obviously been using the tool! I asked her how choosing to use that tool for the past 13 weeks had benefitted her. She stood up and boldly used to fists to tap her chest saying "I feel better."

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

TBT is an awesome program. TBT helped me in so many ways and because of them my life has changed for the better. I used to be so shy and quite thought what I said didn't matter but they helped me find my voice and my self worth. TBT helped me tell my story for the first time ever and helped me see that my story was important and could help others like me in and out of prison that they are not alone.They helped me to open myself up and look into my creative side and explore my true self.Thanks to TBT I know who I was,am,and want to be.TBT has phone calls on Tuesday nights to where we can all stay in touch and talk about whatever we need to talk about. Thank you TBT for always being there when we need you and giving us the tools we need to make our lives what we want them to be.


1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer facilitator with Truth Be Told. Without question, TBT is a special organization with a unique mission. The work I get to do as a volunteer - working hands on with incarcerated women - has changed my life so much, maybe even more than the lives of the women with whom we work. It challenges my view of "the other," while at the same time opening my heart to deeper love, connection, authenticity and vulnerability. Hearing the stories of incarcerated women has changed the story of my life. Thank you, TBT.

1 Austingirl

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What might your life have been like had the people closest to you... sexually, physically and emotionally abused you? And then imagine that you had not one person in your world that you could trust to love you or guide you or be there to protect you? I often ask myself whether I could have survived such a cruel and tragic childhood.

Truth Be Told has developed a simple yet profound curriculum which transforms the lives of incarcerated women, many of which have endured these kinds of traumas over years and years. Participants in our classes report that they finally see a path to face their pain, and begin to heal.

I have been a Facilitator for TBT for 7 years, initially going weekly to a county jail and eventually working in a state prison. I have also facilitated a TBT class in a federal prison camp. I am a member of TBT's Board and am currently the Co-Chair. I am also a major donor. This work and this amazing organization has my heart, my time and my treasure.

It is truly a privilege and a gift to be with these women and witness the transformations that occur in their lives. Often they enter our classrooms slumped down, silent, and uncomfortable with any eye contact. At the end of 8 short, but intensive, weeks they are prepared and willing to stand up proudly in front of a group of strangers and courageously tell their stories. In a startling number of cases, their life stories are of sexual and/or physical abuse, usually at a very young age and usually by a trusted relative. In almost every case, they suffered their trauma in tortured silence, either because they were too afraid to speak or they thought the abuse was normal behavior or their voices were resolutely shut down. TBT work enables these women to speak without shame. Our work enables them to understand that, despite what harm they have done to others and in spite of the harm that was done to them, their lives are not over, they have value and they can positively impact others. Often for the first time in their lives, they experience a safe and loving community.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

There is a level of honesty and safety that supports every aspect of this life-changing program, and is fully modeled by the facilitators and volunteers. There is no "other," and the women in the prison system can recognize this authenticity and let their guard down enough to fully engage in the phenomenal programming. These women exhibit more courage and raw honesty than most of us in the "outside" ever do...and move into a place of healing I would not have thought possible. I have attended two graduation ceremonies as a "respectful witness" and emerge humbled and inspired. The program itself itself is transformative and the people who engage with the "offenders" are attuned to the needs of the women, smart and creative, and filled with respect and love for the women they serve. Stellar on all levels.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being a part of Truth Be Told has been one of the most valuable things I have ever done in my whole life.The courage it took for the inmates to share their stories was not only life changing for them, but for me as well. The love and truth that was spoken by the women in the program is contagious. Every time I leave the prison, I feel that vulnerability and clarity and have been able to embrace that in my life continuously. Incredibly powerful and necessary work by the team at TBT.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Women in prison need constant support. Truth be Told provides that support with dignity and creativity through various classes that meet all needs: talking, writing, movement, other forms of creativity with Behind Bars programs. They follow through too with Beyond Bars. Wonderful organization with many success stories. TBT is making a difference!

1 Margie O.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I met Truth be Told in 2006 when i was in prison. They taught me about community, communication, caring for self and creativity. The idea of community as a way to stay connected was unusual to me because I had never been connected to anything. The idea of being able to communicate has help me be able to ask for help when I was struggling. The idea of self care helped me stop allowing others to abuse me. The idea of creativity helped me envision the way I wanted to rebuild my life. My life has been rebuilt now and I am thriving within the community I belong. I now have a college degree. a wonderful career helping others and become reconnected with my family. I have had the pleasure of returning to Truth Be told as a volunteer to give back to someone what they gave to me.

1 David J.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a clinical social worker and was looking for a place to volunteer some time when I heard about Truth Be Told. I was grateful to find that I could be useful teaching a class on having a healthy relationship with anger at the Lockhart prison. I went in with the intention that here, in this non-ordinary environment, I would be with whoever showed up as a fellow human being just trying to do my best in this life. What I found was a group of women eager to heal and grow. We shared, laughed, and some cried as our stories of life in the human condition unfolded. It was clear and evident that something real happened in those classes.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Listening to women tell the stories of their lives leading up to their time in prison and hearing about the deep life changing healing which they experienced through their small groups facilitated by Truth Be Told volunteers was also life changing for me. It made me realize that these are simply women who have been through a huge dose of the same loss, grief, abuse, and family trauma that all women experience. Now I could understand clearly what they need and could go back home to advocate and vote accordingly. I was inspired to appreciate the value of my own life experiences and to want to make a difference in others' lives!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My favorite part about Truth Be Told is going to their Graduation Gatherings in the prison. The women have done weeks of emotional work in their small groups prior to Graduation. They share such heartfelt authentic stories. It's an honor and privilege to be with them. I have also had the opportunity to be with the women after they are released from prison. Truth be Told is such a lifeline for them as they negotiate their way into their New Life Beyond Bars.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Truth be told is a wonderful group of healing I had a lot of anger and hate in me from my past of rape, molestation, and the hateful devil. But as the tears and the hugs and opening loving help I can say I have forgave the ones who hurt me. And only threw Truth be told that helped me.

Lauren O.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Truth Be Told provides wonderful programs for incarcerated women that are making a difference in their lives, and the world around them. Creating a safe space for people to share their stories, support each other, and pursue their best potential is exactly what we all need, and I'm so grateful this organization exists.

1 Ann S.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being a part of a group of women whose goal was to help and assist one woman at a time in acclimating to the world outside of prison, we learned about Truth Be Told. This organization pin points and heals the root of a very basic problem these women have, their shame. They learn to tell their story and learn how everything has lead them to this particular place and that it is not all bad! Through writing, art, conversation, and dance they learn their own worth and that we all have something to offer others, no exceptions. Our communities can fund all the services in the world, but if the person leaving prison is full of shame, frustration, and addiction, no amount of money or services will provide lasting results. We have been working with a Truth Be Told graduate now for two years and I see first hand how this program heals at the heart of the matter. It's hard to put into words, but our relationship with a Truth Be Told graduate, that we set out to 'help', has touched and changed each of us at our core. We have a friendship and new understanding of each other and the world. Truth Be Told is real.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hello everyone !! I would love to tell you about this great nonprofit program that helped me to turn my life around. I found TBT while in prison. The program helped me realized that it was my own destructive behavior and way of thinking that made me get into trouble. The program made me take a deep look within and make changes with self to help me succeed in life when I was released from prison. There are so many things that I am grateful for that TBT has given to me, self worth, self love, self respect, self care, and a community of women just like myself. I can not express the gratefulness that my heart has when I talk about TBT. Thank you, TBT !!!

Sandra Roller-Lee
Lockhart graduate
April 2015

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I told my ‘story’ for the first time through my TBT class while I was incarcerated at Bryan Prison Camp. Through their wonderful program, their volunteers and their belief that I wasn’t just a number but a real person that had a story to tell resulted in my understanding that I was so much more than that one chapter. I had many chapters to go and I now had the courage to try.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a transformative organization. I attended a “graduation ceremony” of a class and was amazed by the talent, passion and creativity of the women; you could just tell they would have a good chance on the outside. Truth Be Told doesn’t just address symptoms, it works on the core issues behind female incarceration. That’s why it works, and that’s why it deserves your support.

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered to attend a graduation ceremony of Truth Be Told, at Lockhart prison. The display of talent, honest emotion, and comitment i witnessed was quite staggering. I have to believe this program makes a huge difference in the lives of these women, and sets them on a path for successful living upon their release. The program leader did a very impressive job of organizing the event.