Excerpts from interviews with Houses of Healing Volunteers
Mark – Facilitating HOH for 8 years
You look at prison shows on television and there are lots of scary people on those shows. This is not who shows up for our program. They’re not the folks motivated to come to this class to try to better themselves, be better fathers, be better mothers, be less angry — all the kinds of things that we’re trying to impart.
Incarcerated men and women need guidance and they seek it out. They want it. They ask for it. They soak it up like a sponge.
The book Houses of Healing is a wonderful, loving, caring guide that is so well written. The curriculum is second to none — and I work in the field of psychology and mental health.
Dottie – Facilitating HOH over a period of 7 years
The most rewarding thing for me in teaching the Houses of Healing course is seeing the inmates having epiphanies and realizing that they really can change — change their lives, change the way they think, and relate in a whole new way.
The inmates really appreciate having a volunteer come in and spend time with them — and appreciation is the beginning of healing. When you can appreciate what you have, it opens you to receiving more and more and more.
I think the importance of Houses of Healing is to restore dignity. People come in with broken hearts in many cases. Some people come very hard and leave very soft. And they are able to say that. Many have scarred relationships with family members that they want to heal. As they heal themselves, they want to share it with the people they love. They’ll come back and tell the group things like, “I had a conversation with my wife and we were arguing but we got to the bottom of the problem. I was able to listen to her for the first time.” It’s such a reward for me to be part of seeing the results of their healing.
They feel the warmth of the curriculum. They’re able to open up to it. Forgiving, taking responsibility, facing the past, meditation. All the people who participate in the course find a place where they are understood and respected. And that is so important for a whole group of people who have probably not had that.
I’m just so thankful for the opportunity to be involved with HOH. I miss it when I’m not doing it.
Kathy – Facilitating HOH for 10+ years
Facilitating HOH has been tremendously meaningful for me. First of all, I think the curriculum is amazing. Just the changes in the behavior I’ve observed — how it’s helped people to figure out who they are, why they do the things that they do, and to be able to take some control of their lives and start to turn things around.
The HOH curriculum is one of the most exciting curriculums I have ever had the opportunity to work with. It is unbelievably powerful and profound, and yet, you can follow it.
I would tell someone who is considering facilitating HOH in a prison that it is amazing how safe you feel in the prison. I have been doing this over ten years and I have never had a problem.
I’ve seen the impact of the material on these people over the course of the 12-week time frame and it’s just amazing. Just amazing– the transformation that people can go through.
Houses of Healing allows the men to feel comfortable and safe in an environment where those two things don’t generally happen on a daily basis. It’s exciting to be a part of that. The most surprising aspect of HOH has been the change from beginning to end, and how the men respond to meditation.
I have so much love for this program, and for the men that I have the privilege of working with. I would wish that sense of passion for anyone.
It will be something you look forward to every week.