Raising My Voice for Families: Leadership Training Through Storytelling
Incarceration doesn't just affect those who are incarcerated. It has an enormous impact on friends, family and loved ones who remain at home, often forgotten by the justice system, ignored by support services, and left voiceless.
Several times each year, Epiphany hosts Raising My Voice-Kin. This is a four-week program held for those who have a loved one who is currently incarcerated or who has recently returned home. It supports participants as they learn how to tell their story in a safe space surrounded by people with a shared experience.
The program’s purpose is to provide leadership training and teach public speaking skills, enabling participants to speak at schools, community and youth groups, and other venues where their stories will have an impact. In hosting the program at Epiphany, participants have the opportunity to experience God’s love as they are welcomed into our place of worship. As Paul wrote in Romans 12:10, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
How Volunteers Help
Each week, the program facilitator guides participants through a series of exercises. These exercises help trainees craft a 10-minute talk describing their experience with the criminal justice system and the impact it's had on their lives. By the end of the program they've created a message of hope tailored to the group they are addressing.
Volunteers offer encouraging feedback, making suggestions or posing questions as trainees work on their stories. No special training is required, other than to share God’s love with our guests. It is a deeply humbling and rewarding experience to minister to families who are, essentially left behind.
While volunteers are encouraged to participate throughout the program and attend graduation when trainees deliver their final talk, one can join as time allows. Volunteers make a huge difference at any stage of the program.
Note: Due to Covid-19, workshops are currently held through Zoom sessions. The 90-minute meetings are typically held in the evening.
For more information, or to learn when the next workshop begins, please send an email or call the parish office at 212-737-2720.