The last couple of weeks have been especially busy—travel, workshops, correspondence homework to review, never-ending letters, calls and emails. We barely get the suitcase and traveling office unpacked before it was time to fill both up again and head out. The family seminar in San Diego was great—many first-time attendees, who we can provide with facts they need to know, and a chance to re-visit some old friends.
But the best part is what we’ve heard from the men we’ve met and interacted with. These are the stories that keep us going. Last week at our class RISE at CMF in Vacaville one of the men, an old B number who got a 15-year parole denial in 2016 and then had his Petition to Advance denied, asked me who wrote the RISE book--well, I did. He wanted to tell me how much he had learned from the course (and we're just about halfway through the 12 weeks now), how RISE had put it all together for him and he thinks he's ready to file another PTA next year, because he understands now what he didn't know how to connect and process before.
We were able to film a recently released lifer (60 days out) a week ago, when we met him and his wife for coffee in Southern California. “K” grew up with Dave, got a life sentence after Dave was already in prison, but we sent him the Connecting the Dots course when Dave found out he was still in and where he was. “K” was adamant that it was the Dots course that enabled him to put it all together and achieve a grant of parole. He's so dedicated to doing good, making his marriage work and helping in the community--it's totally sincere and he's gonna be a huge asset when he leaves transitional housing--and I'm so so happy to have been a part of his understanding.
One of our correspondence students wrote last week, saying he was going to board in a few days, he'd previously been told to take Denial Management, but until he found us there were no courses in this subject for him to take--he took the correspondence course, did a great job and we found out just yesterday---he was found suitable! Made my day.
I wanted to share some of these rewarding moments with you, our supporters, because you make all this possible. Going to CTF, to do the Unraveling Parole Hearings workshop, we took 200 copies of that workbook, plus a trunk-load of handouts on 40 different subjects…and came back nearly empty handed. The desire, the need for information and help is nearly insatiable in the prisons, and while we work on slaking that need, all those workbooks and handouts cost money in paper and ink alone.
Every time you donate to us or volunteer to help out, you throw that lifeline of information a little farther into the lifer population and hopefully one of those who catches that line will be the person you care most about. I started LSA in 2010, to help my then-incarcerated nephew, and later, Dave. My nephew has been out for several years now, and Dave is nearing a decade since his release.
But neither he nor I can walk away from those men and women who are still inside the wire, hoping for help and redemption. And we know we can provide that help, nurture that hope and then share the joy of their redemption and release.
If you’re reading this, know you’re part of that effort too, and we, and they, are thankful for your help and support. So I share these stories, because you’re entitled to share in that joy also.