This was to honor their volunteer work with inmates and parolees both in prison and in the community. An excerpt from the award letter reads:

“The hero award is given to members of our community during The Season for Nonviolence which is an annual 64 day commemoration honoring the memorial anniversaries of Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. During the 64 day campaign, we honor local heroes who are effecting change in our community through the power and practice of the principles of nonviolence as taught by King, Gandhi, Caesar Chavez, and other nonviolence leaders. You and your work are a tremendous example of these principles in practice.”

L-R: David Paul, MD, PhD, Bonnie Paul, PhD, Rev. Greta Sesheta, Judy Waters, MA, LMF

This new non-profit in Santa Barbara is run by a husband-and-wife educator team who work entirely as volunteers. In honor of their work they also received the Service to Humanity award by the University of Santa Monica in August 2011. The Freedom to Choose Foundation offers an experiential educational program that was originally developed for women serving life sentences at Valley State Prison for Women to help them lead more meaningful lives. It is now being offered in Santa Barbara County free for clients and staff working in recovery, social services, and the criminal justice system.

Participants learn improved communication skills, conflict prevention, respect for all persons, and forgiveness of self and others as a foundational life skill. The material is applicable to all adults, regardless of background, and is presented both in English and Spanish simultaneously.

The Foundation is also seeking to build a team of Community Volunteers to assist in this work. Contact them for more details.

Free Community Nights are offered on the second Monday of the month in Santa Barbara.

Adults and teenagers (with guardian consent) are invited to attend at no charge. Details for the next event follows.

Date: May 14, 2012

Time: 6-8 pm

Location: Veterans Memorial Building, 112 West Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara

Register: RSVP is requested. See website for more information: or 805-323-6156

Cost: Free.


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