2015 grantee Maine Inside Out is a Portland-based arts and social justice organization that collaborates with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people to create and share original theater in and outside correctional facilities. MOI uses theater as a tool for overcoming oppression, finding voice, storytelling, redefining how participants see themselves and how others see them. The Fund’s grant supports their theater-based reintegration and transitional employment program for young women incarcerated at Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland.

"It's being around love." - Sophie M.

Sophie M, age 20, has been working with Maine Inside Out's (MIO) transitional employment program since her release from Long Creek in June 2015. She meets with MIO staff weekly, helping to organize and host monthly open mics as well as other Maine Inside Out community events. During the months since her release, Sophie has faced some incredibly challenging life circumstances. She recently shared some reflections about working with Maine Inside Out in the community.

"I like to be able to speak my mind, speak my stories and be there for people who are going through what I've been through. On top of that we're like a family. We support each other. We reach out to each other. All my friends come together at the open mics. We have a good time.  Laugh, encourage each other to get up and do something. It's really cool to see people's artistic expression come out in a meaningful way. I really love people encouraging me to sing in front of people, and that the guys sang my girly song with me. It's being around love."

The powerful nature of Maine Inside Out’s work was demonstrated when a group of the Fund’s board members, staff and donors visited the Long Creek Youth Development Center in November for a 2015 site visit. Watching the girls perform a play they wrote themselves about their own experiences, and the opportunity to hear directly about their participation in MIO was profoundly moving and demonstrated the Fund’s support of work creating positive social change. The girls explained how transformative the experience has been teaching them to speak directly with confidence, and how to create change in their lives.

Posted 12.04.2015 under News and Resources