Volunteer Staff: The ten teachers, all working without compensation, have extensive meditation and teaching experience.
We each feel that this is the most rewarding teaching we’ve experienced. We always look forward to our evening at the prison.
The courage, eagerness to learn, compassion and loving nature of the inmates inspires us. When we stand in the parking lot after teaching
our hearts are at once joyous from our interaction with the women and broken as we look back on the ominous lights and barbed wire of the place that houses
The ten teaching volunteers are:
Pat Coffey, MEd began his meditation practice over 40 years ago and has taught meditation since 1996 both nationally and internationally.
He studied with numerous Asian and Western teachers in the Theravada, Tibetan and Zen traditions. Pat is founder of IMCC, co-founder of The Meditation Teacher Training Institute and co-founder of
the Blue Ridge Prison Project. Pat was selected and trained as a meditation teacher in the joint teacher training program of The Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts and Spirit Rock Meditation Center under the tutelage of Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein. Down-to-earth real world practical dharma is the hallmark of his teaching. The father of two children, owner of several businesses and the holder of several patents,
he draws on his varied and rich life experience to articulate the dharma.
Kay Webb Fracher, M.Ed. completed a 39 year career as a middle school English teacher and Special Education teacher in 2010. She has a M.Ed. from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Her years of experience as a teacher strengthened her commitment to social justice which resulted in her decision to volunteer at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women with the Blue Ridge Prison Project. She also volunteers with the Books Behind Bars program which provides books to prison inmates throughout the US. Kay began meditating in 1972 and in more recent years began an Insight Meditation practice.. Kay's years of experience as a teacher have made her right at home teaching meditation to the inmates at Fluvanna. She brings her commitment to helping others and her joy in teaching to the classes that she teaches at the prison. In her spare time, Kay enjoys reading and knitting. .
Martha McCoy, LCSW
Martha has been meditating since 1991 and cultivating
an active practice since 2005 with the support of the Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville meditation sessions, classes, and retreats. She is a licensed clinical social worker and incorporates mindfulness practices in her psychotherapy work.
Alison Montgomery, MA, MBA
Retired from UVa Student Health Services as Administrative Director (1990 to 2004). Prior professional experience includes various roles and responsibilities in Health Care Administration and Health Behavior with UVa Medical Center, Academic Depts. at Pennsylvania State University, Coordination of student volunteer services at the University of Michigan, Planner of Social Services for Model Cities of Toledo, Ohio, and Peace Corps, Malaysia, as a community development volunteer. Degrees include BA in English, Masters of Public Health, and Masters of Business Administration.
Volunteer role at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women since 2002. Joined Mindfulness Meditation program in 2010 when I became a student and practitioner of meditation.
Latifa Jennifer Till Latifa Jennifer Till has studied various contemplative practices including those drawn from Sufism, Buddhism and native Middle Eastern spirituality. She formally began her meditation practice in the Zen tradition and has since studied with Insight Meditation, Buddhist and Sufi teachers. In addition to teaching meditation at FCCW, she also brings mindfulness and meditation practices into non-profit and corporate settings as well as to the United States Marine Corps through her consulting business. She is the mother of one son. She leads Dances of Universal Peace nationally and internationally, and she hosts Real Life, a weekly radio show that highlights the potential for peace, growth and happiness in all of us. You can find her interviews with Buddhist (Insight) meditation teachers Sharon Salzberg, Pat Coffey, Jeffrey Fracher, and Ajahn Thanasanti at www.jennifertill.com.
Bev Wann, M.Ed., PCC
Bev partners with public sector and non-profit leaders to help them successfully lead organizational transitions, build committed teams and develop their own potential. Bev's coaching, teaching and consulting work all reflect her commitment to developing skilled, aware leaders capable of creating conscious and durable change.
As an experienced meditator, Nia (body/mind movement practice) Instructor and Somatic Coach, Bev offers her clients and students ways to access presence, renewal and wisdom by working with and through the body.
Asha Greer Asha Greer has practiced meditation for 50 years and has taught it for 40.
She has been teaching at the prison for at least ten and finds it one of the
most satisfying places to practice. She has been a school principal, a hospital nurse,
a practitioner of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, a founder of the Lama Foundation,
and a founder of the Hospice of the Piedmont. She is the mother of four daughters.
She is a practicing artist and a practitioner of the Japanese tea ceremony.
Teresa Miller, M.Ed.
Teresa offers mindfulness instruction for the sake of easing suffering (stress, pain, anxiety), cultivating awareness and resilience, and allowing life's changes to be met with compassion and wisdom.
She has studied with Western Buddhist teachers and completed the Community Dharma Leaders program. She teaches at IMCC (Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville), the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women and the University of Virginia.
With a background in facilitating presence-based leadership skills and in life coaching, Teresa also teaches MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) courses offered through UVA's Center for Mindfulness.
Jeffrey C. Fracher, Pd.D. is a clinical and forensic psychologist who ended a 42 year career as a psychologist on December 31, 2013. During his professional career, he served on the faculty of both Rutgers Medical School and the University of Virginia, qualified as an expert in state and federal courts in multiple jurisdictions, and created and maintained successful private practices in both New Jersey and Virginia. Jeff has been meditating since 1972 and
practicing Insight Meditation since 1994. In October of 2013 he completed a 2-year meditation teacher's training program with the
Meditation Teacher's Training Institute in Washington. He is the President of the Board of Directors of the Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville.
Michael Swanberg, RN
Michael Swanberg has studied secular contemplative practices since 1977 when he lived for a year in India and Nepal. Michael is a member of the mindfulness and compassion meditation initiative at the University of Virginia and teaches workshops, retreats, and training programs at the School of Nursing, where he is a PhD candidate.
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Ridge Prison Project, Inc. All