Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

The If Project

on December 6, 2011

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?

Yesterday, I was at Denney Juvenile Justice Center planning for a January Writing and Literature Workshop. Luckily for me, I got to be there at the same time as the IF Project.

The If Project is a project from the Washington Corrections Center for Women. Imprisoned women answered the question posted by Detective Kim Bogucki, “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?” 

To watch a video of the women talking about this process and their responses, go here.

As a part of the If project, released inmates speak to teens and other groups. Yesterday, six former inmates spoke to the teens at Denney about their experiences. Then, the teens broke into small groups, many met one on one with the presenters, and talked about the above question. There was a lot of really great, powerful sharing going on between the members of the If project and the kids at Denney–reminding me that our stories of how we overcame are the most powerful means of reaching others–especially others who are now where we used to be.

If you would like to learn more about the If project, check out their website.   Be sure to watch the video on their home page.

The If Project’s Blog includes writing from prisoners and those involved with the If Project.

To watch video interviews with some of the women responding to the If question.

I walked away from the workshop thinking not only about the poetry workshop at Denney Juvenile Justice Center, but also a lot about the young lady I mentor through the Volunteers of America Children of Promise Program, and how important it is to be a mentor.

And, I thought, if I were to reverse that “If” question and ask, If I could say or do something to change the path of one person–what would it be? I encourage you to comment below what you might do or say.


3 responses to “The If Project

  1. This brings to mind what we’re going through with our young son who is 17 and a senior and doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life. We’re trying to advise him to keep an open mind and explore all the avenues open to him and not to close himself off from anything. He has his entire life ahead of him to look forward to, and he is so scared that he’s hiding his head in the sand. It’s such a difficult time for ALL youth these days what with the inability to get out of the house and make it on your own, no jobs, college doesn’t promise a job anymore either. It’s really rough and I don’t envy them. All we can do is guide and that’s hard.

  2. Mindy, I just finished looking through the IF website and watching the video and it’s awesome. These women really have a long road to go even after they’re released. It sounds like a harder road than being in prison. I subscribed to the blog and got caught up reading all the posts. Truly inspiring how these women have pulled themselves out of a bad place and want to make it on the outside.
    Thank you for introducing me to the If Project.

  3. Mindy says:

    Thanks for sharing about your son, Patti! The IF Program is a very powerful program. They talked a lot about how hard it was after they were released. One woman shared how she couldn’t volunteer at her daughter’s school because of the prison record.

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