Programs

What is the best way to empower a woman with a history of incarceration?

WIND’s curriculum was created by a team with a wide variety of professional skill sets: design innovation; university teaching; homeless agency management; marketing, finance and development experience. The content has a balance of conceptual building blocks from each of those areas, including practical topics (“Essential Skills”) and problem-solving drawn from the field of Design Thinking. Workshop participants learn how to use skills from these areas to avoid recidivism.

In mid-2019, WIND launched its first workshop at a recovery home for women on the near west side of Chicago. This welcoming residence for ex-offenders supports up to 18 women at a time and provides myriad services. WIND meets in small groups of women and provides group facilitation to help craft new and positive life visions. During COVID, we have been meeting virtually.

Our Approach

Using a flexible curriculum to fit different stages of their recovery, WIND provides resources and workshops to women in the areas of job training, communication, and life skills. 

WIND workshops focus on Essential Skills, such as developing a personal brand – who are you and how to talk about what makes you special.  Other practical topics covered include creating multiple “roadmaps” of options for the future, communicating effectively, preparing for job interviews, and financial literacy.

WIND also incorporates elements of Design Thinking used by design educators at such universities as Stanford and Northwestern; these help people think outside of their typical mindset and imagine multiple paths for their futures.

Our content has been piloted successfully with the Cook County Department of Corrections and a residential transition home for women who have exited the Illinois correctional system.

Sample of WIND’s Curriculum

Building a Better You (Design Your Future)
Reframing dysfunctional beliefs: Turning negatives into positives
Creating your compass
Your journey to the future
Making an action plan to achieve your goals

Essential Skills
Communicating who you are, why you are a terrific person, and your strengths
Developing a personal brand: What’s important to you, some of the challenges you’ve faced and how you overcame them.
Preparing an elevator speech for interviews and networking
Presenting yourself through how you dress, act (body language), and what you post on social media
Effective workplace communications: Anticipating solutions for on-the-job challenges and how to deal with conflict

Financial Literacy
Setting financial goals and developing a budget
Differentiating between needs and wants
Understanding assets and liabilities
Budgeting apps and how they can help you achieve your goals
Banking do’s and don’ts; banks v currency exchanges
Using store apps and couponing

Writing for Renewal:  Guided free-writing for self-discovery, greater confidence and employment preparation
Reflecting on my uniqueness – “Who I Am” or “Where I’m From”
Seeing different perspectives – “Me and the Mirror”
“Finding peace around me” – writing about a favorite place
“My migrations” – physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual; sharing my journeys

 

WIND serves women from both jails and prisons. Jail can be used to describe a place for those awaiting trial or held for minor crimes, whereas prison describes a place for those who have been convicted of crimes.

WIND Program participants with facilitators Lisa R. D’Angelo and Penny Hirsch

Who We Serve

WIND is for women who have had interactions with the criminal justice system. This may mean jail, prison, or women who have been sentenced to a recovery program as an alternative to incarceration. Wherever they are in their journey, WIND is there to help.