A Brief History of Lionheart’s Initiatives
In 1995, The Lionheart Foundation published the book/curriculum Houses of Healing: A Prisoner’s Guide to Inner Power and Freedom (in English and Spanish) to give incarcerated men and women throughout the United States a rehabilitative resource powerful enough to help them interrupt lifelong patterns of violence and addiction in order to build productive lives. Houses of Healing came out of seven years of volunteer teaching within prisons by Lionheart’s Director, Robin Casarjian. Now over 85,000 copies are in circulation, including 55,000 free copies distributed to prison libraries and programs nationwide. This free distribution effort launched Lionheart’s National Emotional Literacy Project for Prisoners. The Houses of Healing Program has become an integral part of prison programming, where substance abuse and mental health counselors, educators, chaplains, administrators, and prisoners alike are praising its positive impact.
While Houses of Healing was created for adult prisoners, numerous programs for at-risk youth used and embraced this resource. Many youth staff asked Lionheart to provide them with a version of Houses of Healing that would address the unique emotional, social and cognitive needs of the adolescents they served. In response to these requests, psychologist Bethany Casarjian, Ph.D., and Houses of Healing author, Robin Casarjian, M.A. developed the Power Source Program and wrote Power Source: Taking Charge of Your Life.
In Spring 2003, Lionheart launched The National Emotional Literacy Project for Youth at-Risk. Multiple free copies of Power Source were distributed to programs for highly at-risk adolescents throughout the U.S., and like the Houses of Healing Program, it is supported by a facilitator’s manual and video series. Power Source is being utilized in more than 3,000 programs and schools.
Responding to the significant number of at-risk teens having children of their own, Lionheart developed a new program and published a book/curriculum that addresses critical issues associated with effective parenting for this population. This new component of the youth initiative, Power Source Parenting: Growing Up Strong and Raising Healthy Kids, has been distributed to thousands of programs and schools nationwide.
Lionheart is a small foundation carrying out large national initiatives and making an enormous difference for at-risk populations and the professionals who serve them. We continue to deliver direct service and develop new resources for our youth programs while conducting a major research project funded by The National Institutes for Health.