The Freedom to Choose Foundation and its co-directors, Drs. David and Bonnie Paul, received The Season for Nonviolence “Hero” Award from the Common Peace Center for the Advancement of Nonviolence and Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles on April 1.
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, Cesar Chavez and other nonviolence leaders. You and your work are a tremendous example of these principles in practice.”
This new nonprofit 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.
The next free event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. May 14, 2012 at the Veterans Memorial Building, 112 W. Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara. RSVP is requested. For more information, click here or call 805.323.6156.
— Judy Nobriga represents the Freedom to Choose Foundation.