“Project Liberation provides a paradigm-shifting personal development platform for women across all stages of criminal justice involvement, while simultaneously using national advocacy and engagement to raise awareness and political will around the issues and needs that specifically face and affect demographically and culturally diverse women.”
Kota has the pleasure to introduce Ivy Woolf Turk, the woman behind Project Liberation, our new affiliate organization. Project Liberation is a person-centered, holistic approach put in practice in workshops that in Woolf Turk’s own words “are a fusion of different tools that support women in getting in touch with their inner, personal power”. Woolf Turk’s method helps women to become something more and different in a way that is defined by the women themselves. Project Liberation then is “a transformational toolbox for women to find alignment within themselves”. The workshops include arts based intervention, meditation, yoga, life coaching to name the main ones.
Project Liberation provides a space for women at all stages of criminal justice involvement to feel safe, supported, empowered, and part of a community again.
Over 14 weeks, women build solid foundations that empower them to see themselves as whole, not broken, and imagine a law-abiding life guided by authentic goals and desires.
During our afternoon-long interview Woolf Turk kept emphasizing with deep experience in her voice how we are all the same but “we all need tools”. For women released from prison starting life anew is a huge challenge that requires not only extensive spiritual resources from the women, but unquestionably political and social decision making as well. Having been incarcerated is a stigma that denies women the resources and support they need in order to avoid crime and prison in the future. Woolf Turk and Project Liberation are on a mission to change these circumstances for women. The fact that incarcerated women more often than not have lived lives of abuse, poor health, poverty and trauma in itself should lead us to understand their need of support and acceptance, not stigmatizing. Yet it is equally important to understand that these women are strong survivors who with the right inner tools can achieve a better life, standing on their own feet.
The pathways to prison represent the larger ways society imprisons women: sexual assault and violence, economic inequality, addiction and mental illness, lack of personal esteem and self-worth, and so much more.
Woolf Turk came to realize the strength of these women while she herself was incarcerated. Woolf Turk held writing classes to other inmates and saw the incredible effect writing can have. By sharing their experiences, thoughts and feelings on pieces of paper the women grew stronger and more confident day by day. For Woolf Turk it is all about alignment through honesty and acceptance of one’s feelings and thoughts. Woolf Turk encourages women to pause every day. She sees a different power structure in being and doing. Pausing anywhere anytime just to be in existence makes it possible to clear oneself whether her doings are about “choosing to” instead of “have to” or “should”. Pausing is a process of being authentic.
Within a supportive circle, program participant are encouraged to reconnect with their own sense of power and possibility, use adversity as a curriculum for growth, renew their ability to dream and create powerful visions for their lives, and strengthen their ability to overcome difficulties, resolve problems, and make life-affirming decisions.
In Woolf Turk’s own words, “my top value is connection”. “Nobody’s the expert, we all form a circle and when we’re safe and held, infinite possibilities are born”. Women helping women to connect with themselves in their own unique way to find inner power is what Woolf Turk and Project Liberation is all about; of course without forgetting national advocacy and engagement.
To learn more about Project Liberation, visit: http://ivywoolfturk.com/
Quotes in between taken from: http://coachingtheglobalvillage.org/project-liberation/