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SVORI Program (USA)

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These are our Nominees
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Leslie Woolley
Resident:Huntsville, Texas, USA
The following are excerpts from participants in the SVORI program:

“…I would like to nominate Ms. Woolley from the SVORI Program. She is the director of this program; she is a real sweet understanding lady. She has a good heart and she goes out of her way to help us out in order to prepare us for the free world. There are not too many people in this world who would help out a convict to try to guide him into the right path in order to make it out their in the free world. She will go out of her way to talk to us in case we have a problem or anything like that. She is willing to sit there and listen to us. She is like a second mom to me cause I can tell she wants us to go out there and do the right things in life, and I really appreciate that at last I can say that someone does care what I do and what I will become in the future.”

“…I want to nominate our Program director here, Mrs. Leslie Woolley! Her compassion, care, non-selfishness, understanding etc…I could honestly write a whole page about her! She is my Angel and extended her hand in help to those [like me].
She has been the driving force behind this program from day 1. She has helped change and mold lives. Not only...through this program but in so many ways outside of those prison walls! She has a very serious genuine compassion for all humanity. She has helped give me focus, direction, motivation, and an all-around renewed sense that life has a purpose for me!

“…I wish to nominate Ms. Woolley and all her staff (SVORI program) for this World Portrait Project, for changing my life…so when I get out I can [have] my own way by physically working...I will find any work to make ends meet, and since I have no kind of support from my family and friends...Ms. Woolley and her staff have already provide for me a Christian-halfway house where I can be paroled. If Ms. Woolley [had] been doing this program since-2004, here in the big state of Texas, can you just imagine what she can accomplish worldwide?

“If not for Ms. Woolley, the program director, I would have blown this whole program aside and just waited for my 9 months and then gone home. This is precisely why I would like to nominate her for the World Portrait Project. It is because of her that my whole outlook of being here has changed to the point that I now believe that anyone who has been incarcerated for a substantial amount of time…should be required to come here to the SVORI program. It is through Ms. Whoolley’s belief in us that we can change our lives around become better people. Her tremendous patience and dedication to the principles of the program, her compassion, and decency towards us, and her wanting better things in life for us that we sometimes want for ourselves has served to help me to take a real long look at myself in ways that I never have before…She makes a difference in our community by helping those of us who have been deemed un-helpable. And that makes our communities a must better place upon our release from prison.

"A very special woman, who is a great inspiration to not only myself… is Leslie Woolley... I admire [her] greatly...she has worked so hard to improve this program and has fought even harder to have improvements made so that we can have a better chance at succeeding upon release. She goes above and beyond to ensure that we gather and learn the tools we will need on the outside. She has put so much of herself and her life into this program and there isn’t anything that I would not do for her. This woman has not only given me the tools I may use to better my chances at remaining a free man, but she has given me back my self-respect, my dignity, and the knowledge that my life is whatever I wish it to be, that my life matters...It is because of this attitude and this positive environment that she has created for us, that I now see myself being able to succeed as a free man. She is truly a wonderful person and really cares for each and every one of us here, under her care and wants us to get out and succeed...She does not view us as prisoners, correctional #’s or by our crimes. Ms. Woolley sees us as what we are, she sees us as human beings...more importantly she treats us as human beings and gives us hope to view ourselves as such...she has made this program into her own and has made it one of hope...”

(Notes: The SVORI program is an in-cell pre-release program for offenders releasing directly from administrative segregation into society. This program, which begins approximately six months prior to release, addresses the leading causes of recidivism including anger management, cognitive restructuring, cultural diversity, substance abuse, and employment issues. The program goal is to better prepare and assist offenders to successfully reenter their communities.)

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