Breakthrough Programs Within and Outside of Prison Walls

Our Programs & Results

We are a non-profit organization founded by Mahin Bina and a dedicated team of people whose mission is to end violence without violence. We do this by providing leadership programs to inmates and ex-offenders, helping them transition successfully back into life with their families and communities.

our programs

One of the things that distinguishes our programs 
from other prison and ex-offender programs is our emphasis on transformational thinking. Without 
new ways of thinking and being - in the 
face of any circumstances - an offender is 
destined to repeat old patterns of behavior. Our programs encourage forgiveness and healing, 
and through our work, participants are able to take 
responsibility for their actions and their lives in a way 
that empowers them and inspires them to share it with others. 

Our six-month leadership program is voluntary. All who participate have a strong commitment to living a positive life and ending the cycle of violence and incarceration. Through the program, they develop a new mindset and learn a variety of skills that prepare them for a life dedicated to the improvement of society. Our participants become leaders in their communities, where once they had been a menace, which leads to community healing, safer neighborhoods, and an end to violence where it had once been commonplace.

Graduates of our program often become community 
leaders, sparking new conversations and possibilities in their families and neighborhoods.

Leadership Training and Transformational Thinking Program (while in prison)

Inmates can enroll in a six-month program called Leadership Training and Transformational Thinking, which gives them a new context for living their lives while in prison and for when they are released. Integrity, forgiveness, and empowerment take on new meaning and significance for participants in how they lead their lives.

They identify something that is missing in prison for themselves and other inmates, such as respect, partnership, and teamwork, and then design a project that will bring this attribute into their environment. Projects have included teaching others to read, teaching job interview skills, creating support in dealing with mental illness, and any area where an inmate would like to make a difference, but must be able to be accomplished within the rules of the prison and with materials at hand. Projects are accomplished with up to 20 or more men not enrolled in the course. Some projects last a few months; some projects are so well received and needed in prison that they last many years.

Inmates who complete our program judge the power of the program and how it impacts their lives. Some say they feel free even while living in the prisons. Some report their hesitancy to talk to other inmates about their project, thinking others won't be interested, but much to their surprise, find genuine interest and greater relatedness with fellow inmates.

Freedom by Design (after release from prison)

Post-Release Leadership Training Program
408 N 8th Street
, Philadelphia, PA

Every Friday from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The group is lead by ex-offenders who have become community leaders, who in turn help the participants become leaders. "The emphasis is on them becoming leaders right where they are, not one day, some day," says Jeffrey Bond, one of the leaders. He asks participants to "challenge yourself right here. If you can be a leader here, you can do it anywhere."

While in prison, inmates feel alone and isolated and protect themselves. When released from prison, they have an exhilarating sense of freedom and want to have fun. Freedom by Design is a support group for ex-offenders living in Community Correction Centers, where they can participate in weekly meetings and conversations that empower them to choose a life of freedom."

The sessions are interactive and deal with today's issues. Participants also get coached. At a recent session a participant said he went to his mom's house to steal food. The leader interrupted him saying, "We know what you mean, but others don't. You're going to eat at your mom's house, not steal food. People don't understand what you just said. You're going to have to watch your language now that you're out (of prison).

Participants are urged to look at what their interests are or were before going to prison. When Jeffrey Bond shared how he started a tennis program for neighborhood children, participants started thinking about their own interests in sports, music, teaching and writing, gaining a sense of their own contribution and potential, and their future as ccommunity leaders. 

The program in Community Correction Centers also addresses basic needs, including assistance obtaining proper identification, transportation passes, clothing, and support in finding employment.


After completing our program, some of our graduates become public speakers, speaking about the impact of incarceration and the cycle of violence at high schools and middle schools, and to community organizations. Other graduates have created projects, such as tennis camps, to provide a safe and stimulating place for youth to be after school.

Above all, the graduates of our program spark community conversations about the possibility of a life and society free from violence. Where once they were a menace to society, these participants have become leaders for future generations to emulate.

"Because of the End Violence Project, I now think before I act.
I consider all the possibilities and the consequences." - Fred

Where We Work

The End Violence Project currently runs four programs in two states: Pennsylvania and Tennessee, in addition to its work at Community Correctional Centers in Philadelphia.

State Correctional Institution at Graterford (Graterford, PA)
The first End Violence Project program was launched at Graterford Prison in 1990. Initially, the program was a series of conversations focused on personal freedom, safe communities and living life free of violence and re-incarceration, the program developed into a six-month program called Leadership Training and Transformational Thinking. Approximately 30 inmates per year complete The End Violence Project program.
Our Volunteer Team at Graterford:
- Sandy Bechtold
- Janet Novack
- Megan Reese
- Dance Wareham

State Correctional Institution at Chester (Chester, PA)
The End Violence Project program began in 2001 and currently it is delivered to over 30 participants per year. 

Our Volunteer Team at Chester:

- Mario Johnson

- Ann Wool

- Penny Goldberg

Community Correction Centers (Philadelphia, PA)
Frequently called Halfway Houses, these centers house up to 70 ex-offenders who seek both employment and permanent lodgings. All residents are invited to participate in The End Violence Project’s Freedom by Design program without a requirement of previous participation in The End Violence Project programs in correctional facilities.

Our Community Correction Team:

- James Atkins

- Jeffrey Bond

"I know I can make a difference in people's lives.
Creating a project has helped me to realize I can start one on the outside.
I now have unlimited potential." - Marc

About Us

We are a non-profit organization founded by Mahin Bina and a dedicated team of people whose mission is to end violence without violence. We do this by providing leadership programs to inmates and ex-offenders, helping them transition successfully back into life with their families and communities.


Mahin Bina (1936 - 2012)

The End Violence Project Mourns The Passing of Our Founder

"There are no words that convey the depth of Mahin's contribution to the lives of so many and the extent of her tireless and selfless work in making a difference in the lives of inmates and formerly incarcerated individuals, their families and their communities. Mahin was a vigilant defender of the ideal of ending violence without the use of violent means. The board and volunteers of the End Violence Project express our heartfelt sympathy to the entire Bina family."
- Excerpt from eulogy delivered by Lorraine Ballard Morril
The Life and Legacy of Mahin Bina

Mahin Bina was born in Iran in 1936.  At the age of 20 she committed herself to the service of others, particularly in the area of human awareness, relationship, and communication. She was the creative force behind the development of the Leadership Training and Transformational Thinking Program and she also developed and trained ex-offenders to lead Freedom by Design in Community Correction Centers. This course prepares ex-offenders to live lives of freedom and contribution. Mahin received several local and national awards for her work with the inmates of Graterford Prison and the Residents of Community Correction Centers in Philadelphia.

Her legacy lives on in the End Violence Project and the work we continue in her honor. But her mark on the world is greater than the words we have for her on this page. Mahin had a great love of family - she left behind three children, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren - and she was "mom" for so many of the incarcerated she worked with. She could look a person in the eye and have them know that they were loved and honored as a human being - without a word being spoken.

A memorial scholarship fund has been established in her memory.


Breakthrough Programs within and Outside of Prison Walls

The End Violence Project Timeline

  • 1995: Received Volunteer of the Year Award for Graterford Prison from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

  • 1996: Prisons & Punishment: An Unprecedented American Experiment, a symposium series, created in partnership with the Pennsylvania Prison Society, and held at the Eastern State Penitentiary on Fairmount Avenue in Philadelphia. Chaired by former Mayor W. Wilson Goode, speakers included Dr. James Gilligan, a prominent author, and journalist Linda Wright-Moore. The sessions looked at the core issues of prisons, punishment, and the need to end violence. Other sessions looked at youth violence and the issues of women in prison.

  • 1997: Received New American Community Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

  • 1998-1999: Computer training classes provided at two Community Correction Centers in Philadelphia. Classes were funded with a grant from Union Benevolent Association of Philadelphia. The course covered word processing, computer terminology, spreadsheets, digital photos, computer graphics and drawing.

  • 2007: First program outside of PA: Florida (Lawtey)

  • 2009: First program in a women's prison: Georgia (Metro)

  • 2010: Expansion to fourth state: Tennessee (DeBerry)
    First program participant appointed to the Board
    Began program in halfway houses

  • 2011: New Board President named (Stuart Papavissilou)
    New Executive Director named (Joe Rink)

  • 2012: Founder Mahin Bina passed away.

  • 2013: New Website

Community Leaders

In addition to the programs offered inside of prisons, the End Violence Project also works with the residents of Community Correction Centers. It is in these centers that we continue our support for ex-offenders that are committed to staying free and who strive to be leaders in their own communities. We provide opportunities for them to experience leadership by helping others ex-offenders become leaders as well. In addition to the ongoing training in these community correction centers, the program also provides much needed practical assistance including assistance in obtaining proper identification, transportation passes and clothing, and support in finding legal employment.

Meet Jeffrey Bond
Where once he was a problem for the community, he is now a community leader. After release from prison, Jeffrey 
Bond tapped back into one of his early passions in life - the game of tennis - and created a tennis program for kids called 
Bringing Fun Back to the Hood. Kids in his community now 
have a choice to participate in a sport that helps them 
develop discipline and confidence. Jeffrey also co-facilitates Freedom by Design in a Community Correction 
Center in Philadelphia. He is a powerful public speaker, 
speaking at schools and organizations about designing a life of freedom.

Meet James Atkins
James Atkins' affiliation with the End Violence Project began
in 2005, first as a participant and later as a coach of 
Leadership Training and Transformational Thinking. After his 
release from the prison, he became a major contribution to 
his community, unselfishly mentoring several people after their release, supporting them in their job searches and encouraging 
them to stay on track, to keep their word, to follow the 
rules and to design a life of freedom and contribution.

James currently co-leads the Freedom by Design program 
at Community Correction Center # 2. He has a home repair business and often does home repair work for the elderly of his neighborhood, free of charge. He also worked with Representative Ronald G. Waters to expand his contribution to the community.


Meet the Board

Joe Rink - Executive Director

Mr. Rink has been a member of the End Violence Board 
since 2003. He is responsible for the overall delivery 
and expansion of the End Violence Project. A 34-year veteran educator, Mr. Rink teaches high school mathematics 
in a suburban Orlando, Florida school district. He has dedicated his life to making a difference in all people's lives. He has a 
Bachelor’s of Science from West Chester University of Pennsylvania and a Masters Degree from the University 
of Pennsylvania in Educational Leadership. He is also a Seminar Leader for Landmark Education.

Stuart Papavassiliou - National Chairman

Mr. Papavassiliou is the senior editor and director of editorial content for two leading financial publications, the Monitor and ABF Journal published in Wayne, PA. Mr. Papavassiliou has served on the governing body of a leadership training program. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. A native of Houston, he has lived in Philadelphia since 1983.

Janet Novack - Attorney

Ms. Novack is an attorney and mediator who has a passion for empowering people. She has extensive training in communication and leadership skills and is committed to transforming the criminal justice system. She has been on the End Violence Board and leading programs at Graterford Prison since 2006. Ms. Novack received a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia.

Mario Johnson - Board Member

Mr. Johnson is a retired Pennsylvania State Trooper. He leads programs as well as trains new program leaders at Chester Correctional Facility. Mr. Johnson is committed to making a difference with leaders by training them to take responsibility for their freedom.

Jeffrey Bond - Community Leader

Mr. Bond was formerly incarcerated who today serves as a community leader. As a demonstration of his leadership, he was invited to speak at the state correctional institution where he was once confined. Currently, he is the lead facilitator for The End Violence Project’s Freedom by Design Program in a Community Center. Mr. Bond conducts a community youth tennis program and has received two grants from the United States Tennis Association to promote the game of tennis in urban neighborhoods. Mr. Bond is dedicated, passionate, and determined to make a difference in the lives of youth and men and women returning from incarceration.

Lois Sesskin - Communications

Ms. Sesskin is a Senior Vice President at an international marketing research organization located in King of Prussia, PA. She has participated in transformational leadership training programs over the past 20 years. She is committed to a world of peace, love and joy. Ms. Sesskin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Healthcare Administration. A native of New York, she has lived in Philadelphia since 1990.

Wendy Lippard - Program Outreach

Ms. Lippard delivers seminars for a nationally recognized presenter of personal development programs. She has led several End Violence Project programs in both Florida and Georgia. She has been instrumental in the expansion of The End Violence Program.

Sandy Bechtold - Secretary

Ms. Bechtold has served as secretary to the Board of the End Violence Project since 2005. She works in the behavioral health field and also volunteers with a local Community Services organization that connects people with community resources and emergency assistance. Ms. Bechtold is committed to a world that works for everyone.

James Roberts - Treasurer

Mr. Roberts, a consultant in global marketing for the pharmaceutical industry, holds two degrees in international finance: Bachelor of Business Administration, Florida International University and a Master’s of Science in Finance, Temple University. A dual citizen of the U.S. and the UK, he is married with two stepchildren and has lived in the Philadelphia area since 1996. Mr. Roberts is committed to a world of inclusion and compassion.

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."
- Buckminster Fuller

Contact Us


The End Violence Project is a registered, non-profit organization; all contributions are tax deductible. The official registration and financial information of End Violence Project, Inc. may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free, within Pennsylvania, 800-732-0999
(registration does not imply endorsement by the Commonwealth).

We appreciate your support.