We’ve had a wonderfully busy and eventful summer/fall here at The Insight Alliance. Here are a few of the highlights:
-We just completed our first 10 week program at MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility which was a great success. At the end of the 10 weeks the youth felt more at ease in their own skins and they all said how much less reactive they are to their emotions and to things going on around them. This photo is a few of the youth at graduation. We weren’t allowed to show faces but still loved the photo.T-shirts courtesy of our partners in Chicago – One Solution.
-We launched A Social Ignition, our new business and entrepreneurship program at Columbia River Correctional Institution.This class was designed and taught for 7 years by Sonja Skvarla, who is passing along her curriculum to us to work into our programs. We will be bringing in business professionals from the community to be mentors each week. If you’d like to be a mentor, please get in touch. We hope to offer this course at Coffee Creek and MacLaren sometime in the near future.
-The TED Talk I did in April is now on You Tube. Watch it here!If you are interested in our work but not sure exactly what we do, this is a great place to start.
-OPB’s Think Out Loud came into our group at Coffee Creek and recorded a show on our Insight to Wellbeing program. The women spoke beautifully about what they have learned from our program and how their lives have been transformed. Host Dave Miller was thoughtful, curious and made everyone feel at ease. The show will air on November 8 on 91.5 OPB from noon-1pm and will be online
Here is one woman’s story:
Angela has been in prison for 6 years and has 15 more to go. She used to spend her time feeling hopeless about herself and life, caught up in the past and in her mistakes, reacting to others and feeling miserable most of the time. After recognising the nature of thought and how it’s creating her experience moment to moment, she spends less time caught up in her head and as she says – “there’s so much space up there now.”
Angela now has space for great ideas to emerge and she is focused on how to improve prison life, not just for herself, but for everyone.So she suggested and then organised an OctoberFest, which was a huge success and morale builder. It was chance for the women and transgendered men to have fun together and dance to Luthers Boots (the Johnny Cash cover band who played at our fundraiser last year). Angela is also on the task force to bring higher education into the women’s prison. Higher education is available at all the other men’s prisons but has never been available at Coffee Creek. Angela is determined to help change this and has already contacted an Oregon legislator to figure out more about how to make it happen.
Needless to say, she has become a huge asset to the adults in custody and the prison system. She credits this program for helping her to quiet her mind and pointing her back to her true potential. It’s totally transformed her engagement with life. She feels like this is the first program which has actually made any lasting difference.
-Our 2nd annual fundraiser is on Thursday November 7th at Plaza Del Toro.We would be delighted for you to join us. You can buy tickets on our website or by clicking here. The Insight Alliance Fundraiser.
The evening will include music, stories from 2 participants from our program and delicious food and drink from Plaza del Toro, Salt and Straw, A – Z Winery, Lagunitas Brewing and Dr. Brew Kombucha.
When we met with Coffee Creek Correctional Facility 2 years ago, they told us we would need to do a research project to show the efficacy of our program. We took that to heart and formed a partnership with the PhD professor, Dr Sarah Bowen, from the Psychology Department [...]
Barb Patterson and I have a great conversation about what it took to start The Insight Alliance and working in prison. - In a word - 'Don't Take your Business Personally'. Here is what she had to say! "Anna Debenham is the Founder of The Insight Alliance. The [...]
This is the third of our prison podcast excerpts. Meet Eve. Eve is a transgender woman doing time in a men's prison. This comes with its own challenges as you can imagine. Having gone through our program and continued with our mentor training Eve navigates the ups and downs [...]
Following on from last week's podcast snippet with Angel, meet Damien. Damien is a war veteran, in prison for a shoot out with some police officers. He has seen enormous transformation coming through our program and in this 10 min podcast excerpt he talks about what that looks like. [...]
We had the exciting opportunity to partner with Dave Dahl on his podcast, Felony Inc., with Mark Grimes from NedSpace as producer, to do a special podcast from Columbia River Correctional Institution. We interviewed three of our Insight participants: Angel, who's been in prison many times over the last [...]
About a year ago we embarked on a research project with Pacific University and the DOC in order to measure the effectiveness of our program with people in prison and after they get out. This means we have a ‘pre-class’ before our 10 week program actually starts. This is where [...]