WA State Department of Corrections

Project Development and Instruction
"Meet My Future Self" five-part workshop for women incarcerated at Mission Creek Corrections Center, Belfair, WA
Summer 2011
Summer 2012

In this workshop, women use discussion, writing, drawing, and painting to identify and express who they want to be in the community after reentry, and the process of becoming those future selves. Challenges discussed include letting go of unhealthy relationships (with self/other), finding community, staying sober, trusting one's self, dealing with systemic barriers and social stigma, and achieving employment and career goals. Each woman learns the basics of scriptwriting in order to write a dialogue in which her self from five years into the future visits her present-day self to relate what she’s learned, describe her pitfalls, and give guidance on how to achieve her successes. Each woman also learns the essentials of visual composition, watercolor technique and the structure of the human face in order to create a self-portrait of her future self and/or her path toward that self. At the culminating presentation, women from all class sections gather to exhibit their paintings and read their dialogues. For some, this is the first time they've been asked to share their stories or the first time they've spoken before a group.

I want to thank the women at Mission Creek for allowing me to be part of their creative processes. I am humbled by their giving, acceptance, transparency and mutual encouragement.