Prison Freedom/New Life Scripts--creating resiliency for a life of integrity

Location:  State College, PA
United States
Project Description: 

     Prison Freedom/New Life Scripts is a curriculum delivered within prison walls to incarcerated individuals who are within a year of re-entry. 

     The purpose of  the program is to educate and motivate individuals to consider the areas of their lives where they have control and then develop practices of self-love and discipline to cultivate good health and positive attitudes. Both are strategies that are needed in order to, not just survive, but thrive in society.

The art of Theatre is taught, discussed and practiced as a method of self reflection, self discovery and growth. Students learn the techniques of theatre: pantomime, improvisation, memorization, characterization, vocalization, and movement as a means to an end. The end being--developing new modes of thinking (neural pathways/growth mindset) that lead to positive behaviors.

The New Life Scripts curriculum rests on the tenet that there are 7 essentials to health and wellbeing and that each day, some time and attention should be paid to them. They are: food,movement, creativity, nature, emotions, sleep, and mediation/yoga. Each class session begins with a ceremony relating to nature and the elements, and each warm-up includes yoga and meditation. With this grounding, the students use theatre as a way of exploring the known (and unknown to conscious mind) areas of their lives. 

Just like Ebenezer Scrooge in a Christmas Carol, students look at the "ghosts" of their past, and then rewrite empowering scripts and act them out, as a way of "rewiring" the experience. Then they "visit" their present life, by observing a scene from their day to day experience with work and relationships. They then rewrite a version of a present day scene that is more workable, and more productive. Finally, as in A Christmas Carol, they write  a scene from the future--using imagination, and theatre techniques, they produce a scene with them in the main starring role, living a life of empowerment, full of joy, inspiration and hope.

The outcomes of the 10 to 13 week curriculum are that each student has a toolkit of practices to safeguard and protect their own health and wellbing, and a change of attitude, or way of thinking that supports a life of integrity.



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