Everyone has an opinion on the U.S. prison system, thoughts on how it should be run, and whether felons can be rehabilitated? I know, because I’ve had enough conversations over the past 6 years on this topic. Most people’s opinions aren’t changed through conversation but through personal experience. So, I’ve invited quite a few people to spend a day in prison with me, and as is usually the case, my friends and colleagues walk away with a different world view.
Where Can You Volunteer?
PEP is transforming lives. Although originally focused on incarcerated men in the Houston and Dallas areas, they started a women’s program inside the Lockhart Correctional Facility (southeast Austin). The program teaches not only business skills so they can start their own businesses after release, but they also spend time learning and practicing servant leadership.
I feel fortunate to have been invited to the women’s unit between graduating classes to lead half-day workshops, helping these women do deep personal dives into their character, beliefs, and behaviors. They learn about core values, worldviews, personal boundaries, visioning, goal-setting, and communication.
Consider this your invitation to join me in prison to shake hands and give the PEP students encouragement and feedback on their business plans that are under construction.
They Will Thank You
When was the last time you received a hand-written thank you card—not an email? While the speed and ease of technology has driven our appreciate to email and text, the art of hand-writing a note of appreciation hasn’t gone out of style—at least by those enrolled in PEP.
“I am so glad there is people like you in this world…people who still believe in us and still believe we have a future and something to offer…”
“There are few moments in this life that we can bookmark as life changing…but it is people like you who care and who selflessly give of your time to encourage others and to see lives changed.”
Let these penned words resonate with you in terms of the difference you too can make in the lives of these temporarily incarcerated men and women. With your help, they can become upstanding men and women of their communities. You too can inspire someone through your words and actions.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in premarital/marriage, finances, ministry, and leadership. She coaches individuals and couples to be the best versions of themselves. You can contact Sandra at firstname.lastname@example.org