How We Help
Our programs for youth focus on prevention, intervention and self-efficacy. These presentations/workshops are conducted by previously incarcerated adults who are willing to share their experiences and offer insight to effect change. The heartfelt stories help youth open up about their own life and ask for help. We offer these workshops for a variety of different groups including schools, community centers, youth groups, churches, detention centers and juvenile prisons. The programs consist of either a 3-4 hour workshop or a more intensive four-part curriculum. We also offer presentations tailored for school assemblies and large groups.
These presentations offer audiences the opportunity to hear directly from people who have been involved in our criminal justice system. This dialogue may include — but is not limited to — their personal stories and the stories they are hearing from youth involved in the IF Project, the realities of our penal system, reentry solutions and how to reduce and prevent choices and actions that led to incarceration. We offer these trainings and presentations to organizations, community centers, school administration and teachers, law enforcement, parents and other people and programs that work with youth. We also conduct presentations and trainings at universities and conferences.
In collaboration with Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) and community partners, The IF Project has started a Reentry Mentoring Program. Our trained mentors work alongside women incarcerated at WCCW to prepare for life after release. Mentees and mentors meet prior to the mentees release to establish a personalized plan for reentry and transition that includes education and/or job training, access to housing and basic needs, counseling as needed, spiritual connections if desired, and an individual work plan. Prior to release, mentees also attend a Reentry Job Program and The IF Projects 12 week Health & Wellness Program.
If you would like to learn more about our mentoring program… click here.
The Health & Wellness Program
The If Project is collaborating with WCCW and the Village- leadership group of women who are incarcerated at WCCW-to provide an 12 week program for incarcerated women that focuses issues and topics relevant to them. The program was created based on the results of a survey The Village conducted. The topics that were chosen include Communication, Health and Nutrition, Violence Prevention and Conflict Resolution, Parenting, Domestic Violence, Life Planning, Goal Setting, Self-Esteem, Personal Empowerment and Coping Skills. These 11 week programs run four times a year.
Inside the Prisons:
The IF project offers one day writing workshops at prisons. These workshops give inmates the opportunity to untangle their story, reflect on what led them to prison and come up with strategies to prevent future incarceration. These essays are a not only a cathartic experience for the person currently incarcerated, but also invaluable for the youth who are able to learn from the experiences they share. This is done through writing about their lives and answering the IF question:
If there was something someone could have said or done that would have changed the path that led you here, what would it have been?”
As well as beginning their own healing and reflective journey, the inmates are aware that by sharing their stories, they are helping prevent youth and young adults from walking down the same path.
To provide ongoing support and education to the inmates who participate in the project, we offer monthly meetings/trainings inside the prison. The monthly topics are chosen by the inmates and can include domestic violence, healthy relationships, sexual assault and abuse, child abuse, parenting, and gang violence.