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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

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

60 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

TBT empowers women behind bars to transform into gifted contributors to society. I was an inmate in TDCJ at the Lockhart Unit. I am so blessed to have been sent there. Early on in my sentence I determined to make the time count. TBT taught me to embrace the truth of my story and to recognize patterns, triggers etc. I signed up for every TBT class and special event. Particularly meaningful to me was graduation day when free world people came to.hear our stories. My, my! An amazing experience! TBT brought a drum circle out to the prison! I carried the joy of participating in that circle for months! I wrote everyone I know about the drum circle experience! So spiritual! There is not a day goes by that I don't reflect on my TBT experience.

Sila M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am not sure where to start, but then again, i didnt know where to start and where to end, until I told my story in Truth Be Told. I know my story touched a lot of the other women because they told me face to face and on paper. My story couldn't be any closer to the truth because it was the ugly, dirty and rotten truth. I didn't want to tell a story that had good parts or a happy ending, but I did want it to be the naked truth. I was hoping that I would find someone that could say, "hey, i went through that too," and there were others who could sympethize. I have felt alone for a long time. Alone and too embarrassed for anyone to know the truth behind the smile and laughter. Sometimes releasing the pain, embarrassment and hideousness of a situation, causes you to grow much more fond of yourself. Self-respect and self-worth is the lesson that we fail to learn because of what we have been through, and because of what others have said or done to us in the past. I learned that you are who you want to be, not who others say you are or were. Women, we are treasures and we are valuable and we are full of worth. Let's not forget to hold our heads high and let others know we matter. Let's not forget to hold our values close to our hearts so we won't forget that we stand for something much more than just the principle. We stand for strength, because we built ourselvselves back up from a dark place, and now we need to use our voices as a light to shine the way for the others that are yet to come. Don't be afraid of the truth; let the truth be told!!

Margie O.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I met TBT in 2006 while I was in the Lockhart Facility. They were an enormous amount of support as I reentered society and embarked in my journey through life. TBT has been in my support system for 12 years now. The tools they provided me while I was incarcerated has helped me be successful with remaining out of prison, getting an education and being a mentor to others thru serve. TBT invests in the future of women so an investment in this non profit would be benefit to every in society.

Previous Stories
1

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Masked Life

In my childhood there were many hits and each bruise took a piece of me. It was through the Truth Be Told (TBT) organization, I found that in telling my story, my real, dark and horrible story, that the abuses and indignities I suffered through, didn’t take the LAST piece of me. That was the piece I held onto in prison when I started the process of revealing & healing.

My story didn’t have a ‘typical’ happy ending. Almost everything I did in my life, I regretted. Words I wished I hadn’t said, damage that I could not undo and almost all of it I wished I could do all over again. I told my story so that each page I had already turned and the bridges I crossed that were already burned, would be a way to help someone who had not yet gone down that path. My path is one that doesn’t allow me to rewrite my past. I got the life I was given and that all those things that broke me, also gave me strength. I finally learned that I cannot fake my past. I cannot change it. I cannot pretend it didn’t happen. Because it was my path and I was meant to take it.

TBT gave me the protection I needed to tell my story. It provided care to make sure I could share my story. Strength to help me start to heal from my story. Because I learned there are many others like me that cannot do it alone. We all need to protect them and take special care until they start to heal too. It’s a long path and one that really never ends but it is an honest and real path.

In time, I found that those truths I shared about the broken path I took, is same one that allows me to breathe for the first time because it is honest and real. I learned that while I am a felon, I am also a survivor. In a previous marriage I was a wife who was a victim of domestic violence, but I am now strong. I am a loving mother, but one who is damaged & flawed. My childhood made have scarred me, but I am healing. I have made too many mistakes to count, but I learned from them & now I am real.

Donor

Rating: 5

I believe in this program because their efforts are making a real change in the lives of incarcerated women who will be returning to society, with or without the healing from their pasts that brought them into the prison system. This program gives these women an opportunity to face their past, take responsibility for themselves, heal their wounds from the abuse they experienced, and have a chance to turn their lives around.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

Attending a Truth-Be-Told event where I got to meet some participants of this program, totally changed my ignorant opinion of women who have been incarcerated. Listening to their stories, meeting members of their families and seeing how they have been empowered by this program made me realize I had to become a financial donor in order to make a real impact in the lives of these women and their families which in turn makes a huge impact on our communities

David J.2

Donor

Rating: 5

I first found Truth Be Told at a social justice event, and was intrigued that such an organization existed to help incarcerated women heal and find their true voices. So I joined as a volunteer to teach a class about having a healthy relationship with anger at one of the prisons they served. It was a profound experience, sharing real, honest moments with women that many in our society have written off. Since then I have had the honor to hear some of their graduates talk about how they benefited from the TBT programs - lives are reclaimed, old wounds are healed, families start to function, and our society gains productive members. Thanks!

Previous Stories
1

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.

rgordian

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been involved with Truth Be Told for a little over a year now, and I absolutely love the organization. They really help women reclaim their lives through the work they do. I've been to the prison to hear the women share their stories and to celebrate their graduation from the program. Both parts were truly life-changing for me. To see the progress and bravery of each and every graduate has inspired me to partner with TBT in my own business and to be more vulnerable in my personal life. The work they do is truly incredible and necessary.

Previous Stories
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

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I went to the Lockhart Correctional Facility for a graduation the other night and what a moving experience! I don't know who received more from it, the prisoners who shared their stories and feelings or the people who were in the audience. Such wisdom was revealed. And it became so clear that we really all are one. We all have the same challenges at some level or another and the same joys. I felt so honored and happy to be there...

1 Linda H.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Truth Be Told is a profoundly authentic change agent for incarcerated women in prison. It gives women an accepted voice, both flawed and human, to better communicate the journey that led to this resulting sentence, then move with ease into the person they have now become. The work the volunteers do is extraordinary! It is done with tough love, compassion, commitment and fierceness! Thank you for your service to a population of the least served and nurtured. Class by class, each of you ARE making a difference!

No doubt, Truth Be Told is a top rated nonprofit. It encompasses the dedicated successes we look for as we open our purses in support.

Attend a participant graduation ceremony from the Truth Be Told 17 week course and hear these women "speak their truths". Your own life will be forever changed!

1 ErinHClare

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Truth Be Told is a one-of-a-kind program that validates the possibility of a second chance, and the beautiful/fragile/often scary exploration of the human condition through all its efforts. I have witnessed first hand the profound impact TBT has on the women it serves, and how the transformative power of storytelling can be life-changing, therapeutic, and grounding. I am honored and grateful for having had the opportunity to volunteer and support the great and important work they do.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Maya Angelou said: "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." Truth Be Told relieves incarcerated women of that burden by allowing them to tell their stories safely. It is an honor to witness these women stepping free of their shame through this simple and ages old tradition. I am humbled each time I sit in circle with these women.

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

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

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.