Abel is a former student in our RISE class. He found himself amazed at what he learned. He writes in response to the class,
(Melvin, Vanessa and Dave at San Francisco seminar; no pictures of Abel... Yet!)
(In Abel's own words)
"Dear Life Support Alliance,
"I still remember the first time I received a ducat for RISE. I looked at the ducat and I thought to myself, “What is this, some new class on baking?”. I had never heard of this class, so I went around asking other inmates. The response I received from others was, “How did you get in that class, I’ve been trying for years?”. I knew right then; this was a "special" group class.
"In my first meeting, I watched Vanessa and Dave, the facilitators for RISE, walk in with a handful of RISE workbooks and smiles on their faces. As they introduced themselves, they immediately started to speak of what this group was all about. Vanessa and Dave spoke of terms like “Parole Suitability”, “ACE Events”, “Connecting the Dots”, “Self-Agency”, “Internal/External Locus of Control”, and “The Power Struggle of Domestic Violence”. Some of these terms I had heard of in other self-help classes, but many of them I never heard of. One in particular, was Connecting the Dots. This concept gave me a clear understanding of how past events in my childhood affected my behavior and brought me to my present situation, “Prison”. Connecting the Dots helped simplify the complex concepts of psychology of my Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and how these experiences influenced my belief systems, which in turn influenced the way I acted out. The saying “Knowledge is power” is what I was witnessing as I absorbed this new idea.
"I still remember when Vanessa and Dave were explaining each “Dot” and with each one, I heard a clicking sound. That clicking sound was the combination number to a lock that I had been searching for my entire life! This lock had me locked into a belief system I did not even know I had bought into since childhood. The Bible says that the truth will set you free. And the knowledge of Connecting the Dots that I learned from RISE has helped me unlock the prison in my mind that I’d been in all my life.
"The paradox of finding freedom in prison is one that does not disappoint. See, freedom is a true paradox in which, the only time you experience freedom is when it is taken or when it is given back to you. RISE guided me to inner freedom. It tied up all the classes I had taken in the last three years. Connecting the Dots helped me convey the change to the Parole Board earlier this year, in which I was approved for early release under Prop. 57; Non-Violent Parole Process.
"Looking back, RISE was not a baking class, but it did help me rise to the occasion when I was asked by the BPH why I should be released early. Connecting the Dots gave me hope for real change. I am tired of hurting my loved ones. I am tired of hurting myself. Now I have a real way of healing from my past to plan a better future and it’s all because of Rehabilitate, Implement, Succeed, Excel. (R.I.S.E.). This class lives up to its name.
Abel R. 9/27/22 CMF Vacaville"
On September30-October 1st, we went to HDSP Level 4. We talked to more than 120 Hard Core Level Four prisoners. They're a tough crowd, and we may never see the results of what we started with some of the people there, but we planted some seeds. It's exhausting and draining. And their results will likely take years to develop.
On October 15th we're scheduled to address as many as 150 guys at Correctional Training Facility; CTF-Soledad Level 2. These guys are a lot closer to being ready and we may get the privilege to help a few across the finish line and see profound results from our work. Different but also exhausting.
We gladly pour ourselves out for these wounded
human beings. And where we do the most good is anybody's guess. (I personally think it is with the Level 4 guys as we give them that initial nudge to change their vector, and therefore change their lives.)
Either way, it needs to be done, and did I mention it's exhausting? It's also awfully expensive. Gas is around $6.00/gal., motels are high. Materials and overhead and auxiliary expenses, etc. We need help to provide help.
We need YOUR help.
So, I'm asking you to search your heart and your wallet and make that commitment. Use the link I'll provide in just a few lines, go to our website with that link and make a commitment to $20. per month to support this important work. We simply cannot do it without help.
Say this with me, "When it comes to positive change, for this I am responsible." Step into that responsibility with me today. If at some point that $20. per month becomes too much you can always change your mind. So, click the link below, when you get there, put in $20. (or more), click the monthly button and know that you're a part of something bigger than all of us. And when you do, I'll email you to glean enough information to send you an LSA branded T-shirt in appreciation. (They're really pretty cool!)
Here's the link: https://www.lifesupportalliance.org/support
Hoping to hear from you soon.
Here's to having a good day, from me and Abel and so many more.