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What: Release the Fear, a nonprofit health and human-services organization, teaches Arizona’s youth through Character Education. Students discover within themselves the life skills needed to combat the effects of peer pressure, gang involvement, bullying, abuse, and violence in our society. Inspiring and empowering youth with the tools to make better life choices, Release the Fear (RTF) has worked with thousands of at-risk youth and adults in Arizona and around the world, offering experiential programs that help reverse the paralyzing effects of fear and diminished self-worth. Our programs encourage youth to explore safe and healthy lifestyles and to overcome disabilities through the development of leadership and social skills through evidence-based curriculum that meets National Common Core standards. Release the Fear, Inc. has worked with youth in Arizona, nationally, and internationally, in such places as Guam and El Salvador, instilling positive life changes for thousands.

How: These programs stimulate whole-brain thinking and develop metacognitive-thought processing by utilizing new applied-knowledge teaching methods. These programs demonstrate options that awaken a creative consciousness and expose the unlimited potential of critical thinking and problem solving to help participants develop better cognitive behavioral skills. Our trained facilitators guide participants through interactive creative activities and analytically explore the connectedness to their lives. Release the Fear utilizes inquiry-based-learning experiences, an educational practice where the facilitator uses controlled questioning to serve as a learning guide in order to move students toward new understandings. Educational research shows that student retention increases when new learning is discovered through inquiry practices as the student is able to take ownership of new findings. The facilitator must act as guide while being an expert questioner, thinking of the end objective at all times and posing questions to allow students to reach objectives on their own. When this is done, students are able to create new thought patterns that connect and build on their applied knowledge and personal life goals. Without these essential life skills, the still-maturing minds of school students and detained youth view their futures as bleak, with no hope for a “normal” life.

Approach: At the onset of setting up the program, students create the expectations for the workshop as a group. Facilitators guide them through inquiry based learning skills, to create a safe space while empowering and embracing their ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interaction. Based on awareness of ethical standards and social norms, of the consequences in their actions, and of the well-being of self and others. They, as a group, set up guidelines and choose consequences as a way of controlling impulses and a means of motivating themselves, creating an environment for achieving personal and academic goals while empowering a sense of confidence and optimism. Through these experiential programs, we encourage participants to develop valuable core life skills, better critical problem solving, and a healthy sense of understanding of self and others. Through RTF programs, participants discover that anything is possible and that they have a purpose in life. They see why they do matter—to the world, to the community, and most of all to themselves.

Transformation: Through one of many quantitative studies, Maricopa County Juvenile Probation Office released a 2010 report demonstrating the value of Inside-Out Bridging Possibilities© workshops on 357 of their juvenile population. Thirty percent of incarcerated youth recidivate—meaning three out of ten will again find themselves in conflict with law and society and back behind bars. For the incarcerated youth who participated in just one Release the Fear workshop, that recidivism figure dropped to 23 percent. For those who were able to benefit from multiple workshops, it dropped to 16 percent—nearly half. That is an impressive impact on any child’s future as well as the community in general.


The experiential creative process, Release the Fear (RTF) empowers youth with the tools to overcome the paralyzing affects of fear and violence, allowing them to discover their true potential and purpose in life … because “They Matter.”

Founded in 1996, Release the Fear, a health and human services agency, exists to counter the effects of violence in our communities by turning fear, anger, and hate into acceptance,hope,and self-empowerment by bridging endless possibilities through the creative process. The community we serve is comprised mainly of minority children, children whose lives are dictated by the pathological issues they face on a daily basis.

In 2005, RTF unveiled a 25-foot, 4 ton sculpture in downtown Phoenix that was created from melted down weapons, previously used in violent crimes. This symbol of releasing fear is a reminder of our core vision: that what was once perceived to be negative can be transformed into a positive.

Summer of 2005, the education component effort was developed and launched in schools and community centers, and is now RTF’s core focus. In 2005, we received a National Endowment Grant to work with youth in two detention centers in Maricopa County to instill in them, the hope of achieving their dreams.

Since 2005, through workshops RTF has taught valuable life skills, enhanced participant’s self-awareness, and allowed participants to experience alternative ways of dealing with conflict and anger.

Teaching troubled kids, in jails, detention, treatment centers and schools, as prevention. Through the creative processes of Art, Music and Communication, we teach kids cognitive behavioral skills to build self-esteem. They Learn tools that help them with school work and with conflict resolution, peer pressure, bullying

RTF’s goal is to present workshops designed to alter possible violent behaviors and perceptions in participants through education, risk reduction, and the use of the Stages of Change Behavioral Health model. The workshop curriculum meets Arizona State and Common Core National Education Standards, including College Prep.

Over six thousand youth worldwide have benefited from Release the Fear’s programs. In the past two years more than 1,500 Arizona youth have participated in at least one of RTF’s six programs that use self-exploration as a peaceful alternative to violence. Our facilitators guide participants through interactive creative activities to analytically explore the connectedness of those activities to their lives.

MISSION: To counter the effects of violence in our communities by turning fear, anger, and hate into acceptance, hope, and self empowerment by bridging endless possibilities through the creative process.

VISION: Inspiring & empowering kids with the tools to make better life choices . . . opening them up to possibilities and purposes for their life in a brighter tomorrow.

”This experience helped me open my eyes and realize all the many opportunities I’ve been ignoring all along. I also learned to express your feelings to others to understand and relate to others emotions. The Hopes and Dreams activity taught me that in order to reach your dreams, you must overcome difficult obstacles.” -Tyrone

The Programs:

Our seven programs provide and demonstrate options for the individual through the experiential creative process of whole-brain thinking. This awakens a creative consciousness and exposes the individual to the unlimited potential of critical thinking, problem solving, and self-empowerment. The youth is awakened to new possibilities and a new purpose leading to improved life skills and the hope of becoming a productive community member. Without these critical life skills, the still-maturing minds of detained youth view their future as bleak with no hope for a “normal” life.

Inside-Out Bridging Possibilities program, launched in the summer of 2005, encourages incarcerated youth to explore safe and healthy lifestyles through the development of leadership and social skills and to develop better cognitive behavioral skills. At the end of the three-day workshop, drawing from their experiences in the program, participants create a group painting to present to the public. This expression created by participants from multiple perspectives, can be harmonious and unifying. This is a healing experience for the group, as well as a community awareness campaign, sharing a message of decreased violence of all types. “Inside Out” meets National Common Core and Arizona education standards.Click here for more

Bridging Possibilities program, launched summer of 2005, delivers educational workshops to teens and adults in classrooms and community centers focusing on life skills, positive self-worth, and conflict management. “Bridging Possibilities” meets National Common Core and Arizona education standards. Click here for more

Coloring Book program is a 10-session, conflict-management, fourth-grade curriculum that, through reflective writing, allows children to produce and perform a play for their peers revealing what they learned about conflict versus love and understanding. The “Coloring Book” meets national education standards. Click here for more

Second Chance Transition program, launched in the fall of 2012, works with Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections Paroled staff and community centers, as youth transition out of secure care (behind the fence) back into the community.

Dream Catcher program launched in September 2009. Fry’s Food Stores is the first community partnership to support this youth/adult mentor program that captures the dreams revealed through RTF workshops and embraces them so that they may become a reality. After exploring their dreams in the workshop, RTF staff places the participant with an adult community member who is working in the participant’s desired career. The youth shadows the mentor for a day or for the duration of a project.Click here for more

Discover U Summer Camp program, began 2011 and expanded in summer 2012, is designed as a four day, four hours per day workshop involving yoga, Zumba, nutrition and Primal Fitness. Bridging Possibilities strategies are also included. Empowering and inspiring young people, by stimulate as many young minds, bodies, and spirits. English http://vimeo.com/48340884 Spanish http://vimeo.com/49464810

DISCOVER U = After School is a desperately needed program for our at-risk youth. It will expose them to ways, new to them, to deal with life's challenges in school and community. We witnessed results nothing less than incredible in our Discover U Summer Camp youth. Knowing this, RTF made a conscious decision to design DISCOVER U = After School and integrate this curriculum throughout the school year, offering it to many school districts as an after school program. We must stimulate as many young minds, bodies, and spirits as possible, by exposing them to meaningful activities while inspiring and empowering them with the tools to make better life choices. We provide the educational resources so that these youth learn how to determine what they want to do with their lives. National research shows children that are fit, empowered, and over all feel good about themselves, excel in school.

“I learned to Express yourself and to raise your voice and not give into peer pressure. I learned that you & everyone has a fear and that you can overcome the fear. I learned to look for the positive and to accept everyone for who they are and to see the colors of us all.” -J.R.

Please visit Release the Fear’s new space at Grace Chapel, 302 W. Monroe, in the downtown Phoenix Arts District.


Susan Kotnik, Chair - VP Business Management, Avnet
Scott Tate, Vice Chair - Supervisor of Training Operations, Triton Technology
Sara Greenwold, Secretary - Gen. Sales Manager, Southwest Wine and Spirit
Jeff Quincey, Treasure - Senior Loan Officer, Peoples' Mortgage
Don Dolin - Program Specialist (Title 1) Arizona Department of Education
Joan Howell - Retired Elementary School District
Max Sanel - VP Morgan Stanley
Robert J. Miley, CEO
Reginald Bolding Jr., AZ House Rep.

Honorary Chair
Greg Stanton, Mayor, City of Phoenix

Advisory Board

Francisco J. Alatorre, PhD Crim. Justice
Rich Bauer - United Phx. Fire
Kirk Baxter
Steve Church, Former Pres. Avnet, Inc.
Gina Clark
Jim Colletti
Heidi Fogelsong
Terry Goddard, former AZ Atty. Gen.
Phil Gordon, former Phx. Mayor
Office of U.S. Congressman, Paul A. Gosar
Billie Jo Herberger
Gail L. Jacobs, PhD, Edu
Scott Jacobson
Paul Johnson
JoEllen Lynn
Rose Mofford, former AZ Gov.
Kathy Munson
Bridget Pettis, WMBA Star
Derrick Platt, PhD, Psyc /Juv. Justice
RJ Shannon
Tom Simplot, former Phx. City Council
Brenda Sperduti
Kim Sterling-Heflin
Meredithe Stefanowitz, M. Ed.
Thelda Williams, Phx. City Council
Gerald Richard, III
Daniel Valenzuela, Phx. Vice Mayor

National Advisory Committee

Dino De Concini
David Gonzales, U S Marshal
Nancy Hendrich
Rev. Rebecca McClain
Kellieann P. Miley
Joni Sledge

Executive Director

Robert J. Miley, CEO/Founder

Release The Fear Team

Ms. Sara Davirro -program coordinator
Lisa Moore- pre-post qualitative and quantitative reporting and evaluations .
Lori Bruggeman , CPA - Accountant
Michael Schneider- Lead facilitator
Hector Cedillos,= Lead facilitator
Aeimee Diaz- As second facilitator
Rosie Paluch-Assistant facilitator
Wendy Drew-Assistant facilitator

ASU criminal justice program and Scottsdale Community College interns:

Anthony Howard
Francisco Garcia
Alexis Villegas

Over the past several years Educators, Business Professionals, and Community Stakeholders have come together for the sake of youth and as a result, Release the Fear has given youth the tools and skills which will enable them to have more in their lives. Release the Fear has had many community participants contribute their time and energy giving to these deserving youth. There are so many kids who need someone to step into their lives and help.

Release the Fear has dedicated its core mission to this task. We are proud to say that we envision our future as powerful and impactful.

Join the many who are keeping the vision alive:

Our Current Partners:

A New Leaf
Arizona Community Foundation/Summer Youth Program Fund
Balsz Elementary District #31
Boeing Employees Community Fund
CoBiz Cares Foundation
Cox Charities
Creighton School District
Girl Scouts of AZ
Genesis Community Learning Center
DeSoto Central Market
Diane & Bruce T. Halle Foundation
Executive Council Charities
Florence Crittenton
Herberger Foundation
Woody Johnson Foundation
J.W. Kieckhefer Foundation
Kemper & Ethel Marley Foundation
Kroger’s-Fry’s Food Stores
Margaret T. Morris Foundation
Maricopa County Attorney’s Office
Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office
Mr. Steven Church
The Munson Family Trust
Murphy School District
Phoenix Cardinals
Phoenix Office of Art & Cultural
Safeway Inc.
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, AZ
Shoen Family Foundation
Superior Court of AZ
Tha Carter Foundation
Thunderbird Charities
United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association
United Way Donor Choice
Walton Family Foundation
The Watts Family
Wells Fargo Foundation

Ms. Elizabeth Ann Bitters
Ms. Lori B. Bruggeman
Ms. Amanda Bunney
Ms. Gina Clark
Mr. Francis J. DuAimè
Ardie & Steve Evans
Mr. Jack Fields III
Ms. LaBelle B. Forstrom
Ms. Michelle & Hannah Forstrom
Mr. Matthew Feeney
Mr. & Mrs. Ira Gaines
Ms. Rossana Gatlin
Mr. & Mrs. David Graves
Mr. & Mrs. Rex Gulbranson
Ms. Judith Guilds
Ms. Roberta Hancock
Ms. Roxanne Hamilton
Tom & Roxanne Hamilton
Richard & Judith Harding
Ms. Janet Hayes
Mr. & Mrs. William M Hendrich
Ms. Jane Hill
Mr. Gary Johnson
Mr. & Mrs. Kiese
Ms. Dorothy Kret
Mr. Bill LaBrie
Mr. Edward Guy Lebow
Mr. & Mrs. Mathew Mapes
Mr. & Mrs. Arthur J. Martori
Mr. & Mrs. Chris Maxwell
Ms. Candyce McCaslin
Mr. & Mrs. Meiner
Ms. Debra Miller
Mr. Robert Miley
Mr. & Mrs. Naimark
Mr. & Mrs. Johnny Palacio
Mr. Zavier Raines
Ms. Holly Rezzonico
Mr. & Mrs. Calvin Rezzonico
Dr. Nelo Rossie
Mr. Byron W. Sampson
Ms. Blaire Coe Schweiger
Mr. Aaron Scott
Ms. Cookie Serrano
Mr. & Mrs. John E. Serrano
Mr. & Mrs. Rudy Serrano
Mr. Steven Serrano
Ms. Khonsavanh Silivongxay
Mr. Thomas M Simplot
Ms. Vivian Rae Spiegelman
Ms. Anne M. Steinmetz
Mr. & Mrs. Paul Steinmetz
Sharon and Curt Stetter
Mr. & Mrs. Van Arsdale
Mr. Phillip Wallace
Mr. & Mrs. Delwyn Worthington

Preparation of Release the Fear’s new office space/studio:

Artistic Lighting Installs
Awake and Market Box
Bob Beckwiph
Craft Custom Glass
Fox’s Fine Home Designs
Lightform Lighting
Oest Metalworks
Sunstate Equipment Co.
Todd Bruggeman

A few of the Partners we have worked with in the past:

Banner Health Foundation
ILX Corporation
KPNX Broadcasting
Roosevelt Action Association
The National Endowment for the Arts
Westwood Neighborhood
Willo Neighborhood

In-Kind Goods and Service:

Action Equip. & Scaffold Co., Inc.
Allstate Insurance Employee Giving Program
AZ Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee
Baker Concrete Construction
Bingham Engineering, Inc.
City of Phoenix Land on Central & First Ave and Parks & Recreation
ClearChannel Outdoor
Crescent Electric
Finis Productions Inc.
Granite Express
Highland Products, Inc.
Kitchell Contractors
Morrison Maierle, Inc
Mountain States Nursery
Peterson and Associates
Phoenix New Times
Salt River Material Group
Sunstate Equipment Co.
Tempe Crane
Thinking Caps
Timothy Starkey R.L.A.
Wilson Electric

Release The Fear

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Please visit Release the Fear’s new space at Grace Chapel, 302 W. Monroe, in the downtown Phoenix Arts District.
Mailing ~ P.O. Box 3815 Phoenix, Arizona 85030

Release The Fear

website by richard donley fox