Opportunities for Impact
There are currently 200,000 women in prison or jail in the United States, a figure that represents an increase of over 750% in the last three decades Each year, approximately 60,000 women are released from federal and state prisons and many more cycle through local jails in the United States. Many come from, and/or re-enter to the challenges and trauma of poverty, abuse, addiction, and poor physical and mental health, as well as the stigma and stress of criminal justice involvement. More often than not, women lack access to necessary supports and resources. Unfortunately, nearly 50 percent of them will return to prison or jail within 3 years of their release, resulting in significant costs for them, their families, and their communities.
Holistic, Person-Centered Approach
Project Liberation workshops are a resource that offer a fusion of life coaching, arts based intervention, yoga, meditation and other healing modalities. They are designed to assist women in building solid foundations that empower them to see themselves as whole, not broken, and imagine a law abiding life, guided by authentic goals and desires.
Within a supportive circle, program participants are encouraged to reconnect with their own sense of power and possibility, include adversity as a great curriculum for growth, renew their ability to dream and create powerful visions for their lives, rediscover their gifts, increase confidence and self-esteem, and strengthen their ability to develop options and strategies to overcome difficulties, resolve problems, and make life-affirming decisions.
Our vision will be realized when reflected in our participants successes as they imagine, and holistically learn to live law abiding lives based on their own values and beliefs. It will further be realized when there is increasing support for women nationally, to participate in our programming and that of our supporting partners, to integrate, and successfully transition into sustainable homes, schools, jobs, relationships, families and communities.
Ivy Woolf Turk is an ICF Certified Professional Life Coach in private practice and Founder of Project Liberation. Formerly Co-Creator and Director of the blackbird project at WPA, she is also a board member of Liberation Prison Yoga, a consultant to the Justice Advocacy Group, LLC in Alexandria, VA., a 2016 Center for Social Innovation Agent of Change Fellow, and a Founding member of the National Council of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls. She is also a motivational speaker on criminal justice related issues.
Ivy has an extremely unique perspective on incarceration, homelessness and reentry. A former executive in the advertising and real estate businesses, she found herself caught up in a situation with criminal consequences. While incarcerated, Ivy taught GED English literacy, Yoga and Meditation to groups of demographically diverse women. She also co-created C.H.O.I.C.E.S., a group of inmates that went out into the community to speak to at-risk youth about the consequences of poor choices. Ivy worked with the District Attorney of Connecticut on an Anti- Gun Violence campaign and a movie called the 5k Motion. After serving 4 years of a 5-year sentence in Federal prison, she not only has her own perspective and experience with the whole incarceration process, but that of the hundreds of women with whom she worked with while imprisoned as well as upon reentry.