Lionheart’s Clinical Director to Keynote at Upcoming Conference (2020)

13/11/19 0

Dr. Bethany Casarjian, Lionheart’s Clinical Director, will be the keynote speaker at the William James College Conference to be held in Newton, MA in May 2020.  The conference will address the topic of trauma-informed practices to improve outcomes for children, adolescents, and families of underserved communities.  Dr. Casarjian was asked to address the deleterious impacts of trauma on youth from historically marginalized backgrounds and on best practices and trauma-informed interventions for at-risk youth and families. In addition, she will speaking about Lionheart’s newest program, EQ2,   designed to support direct-care staff working with high-risk, trauma-impacted youth, particularly those who have been involved in the child welfare or juvenile detention systems.

Lionheart’s EQ2 program begins by increasing staffs’ awareness of youth trauma behavior, helping staff build relationship-focused competencies and expanding crisis intervention knowledge. What is unique about the EQ2 approach, however, is the focus on building staff’s own social and emotional skills including increased awareness of their emotional state when working with youth to prevent crisis, learning personalized cognitive-behavioral strategies to help staff co-regulate with youth, learning how to return to “emotional baseline” after stressful incidents, and building stress management and resiliency skills to handle the emotional fallout that is common when working with trauma-impacted youth.

To learn more about the Lionheart Foundation’s programs.  Click here.

EQ2: Designed to support direct care staff to be delivered through a Learning Management System and an App.

11/11/19 0

Lionheart’s new program (EQ2) designed to support direct-care staff working with high-risk, trauma-impacted youth is expected to be available by the end of the year (2019).  The distribution of the program through a Learning Management System and an app is also new.

The app contains EQ2’s key self-regulation and psychoeducational skills which have been animated using the program’s unique and vibrant art. The app not only reinforces the skills learned in the groups, but makes the key content available to everyone in the youth-serving system, widening the program’s reach and increasing the transmission of trauma-informed practices. The LMS provides trainer assistance (an online train-the-trainer model), increasing the program’s fidelity.needs.

The Lionheart Foundation – Fall Update on Activities 2019

30/10/19 0

Thank you for the opportunity to share Lionheart’s recent progress while passing on the feedback from those who are most intimately impacted by our work.

A main focus of our efforts this year has been the creation of EQ2, Lionheart’s traumainformed program for direct-care staff working with youth in residential care; delivery of three major grants within the CA Department of Corrections; the completion of the revised Power Source Facilitator’s Manual, as well as the projects, distribution, and trainings that are part of our ongoing mission.

INNOVATIVE GRANTS from the CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)

Although our first CDCR grant (Round 2) has been complete for almost two years, we continue to deliver the Houses of Healing (HOH) Self-study Program in both solitary confinement and on death row. Registrations have significantly slowed, however as long as we receive requests Lionheart will continue to deliver the program to prisoners in these highly restriced settings. The following are from men in solitary in Pelican Bay State Prison.

“Houses of Healing helped me look into some areas in my life that I wanted to bury and never attempt to look at. In reading HOH and being honest with myself I was able to not only bring them back up but to then work thru them. I’ve been doing time since the late 70’s and I’ve never felt freer in my life. I can’t praise the course enough.”

“First & most I want to say thank you for letting me be part of your program. Giving your time to mail the sessions to us. Believing in us that we could have a Second Chance in life if we are willing to change our ways and work hard to be a decent man in society. I might have life in prison but this program opened my eyes to see that I still have a life to live and I can hopefully help someone in the future. Thank all the staff there who give us hope in life. Thank you for making this program possible!”

More to the point, we thank all our supporters for making it possible!

CDCR Grants in progress:
The Power Source Training: A Program to Prepare Lifers and Long-term Prisoners to Facilitate a High Impact Social-Emotional (Re)habilitation Program for 18-24 Year-olds is nearing its completion (12/19). It has been a blessing to train and nurture positive purpose in many long-term prisoners who are walking the walk of rehabilitation. When the young men and older prisoner-facilitators were asked, “Would you recommend the program to someone else?”, all were affirmative. A small sampling of comments from prisoner-facilitators included:

“I love this program!! It’s life changing. It’s one of the only programs that all the participants take seriously.”

“So many young people come up to me with smiles and thank me and tell me what the program means to them.”

“It gave me the opportunity to live the life I’ve always wanted. Today I treat everyone with respect.”

“The experience of being an inside facilitator made me want to change the direction of my life. I now want to become a mentor and facilitator when I get free. It has shown me that I can be more in my life.”

“It’s amazing how people can come into your life and change your whole outlook. Power Source provides the guidance to re-connect with your greater self so that you can live the sort of loving existance we are meant to live.”

“Words can’t explain how good it feels to be of service. I am no longer part of the problem. I am part of the solution.”

Making Time Count: Making the Most of Your Time Behind Bars is offered in the Reception Center in San Quentin. This is where people spend their first 2-6 months in the prison system. Due to a quarantine and numerous lockdowns and unavailability of custody staff who are essential to the program’s on-site delivery, Making Time Count is now being offered as a 6-session self-study program only. We anticipate serving approximately 600 men (500 in English and 100 in Spanish).
The CDCR requested that we deliver the Making Time Count program in Spanish as well. We were very fortunate to secure the translation services of Adriana Aristizabal whose company has translated more than 50 self-help books for Hay House Publishing. Adriana chose to translate this herself. If we receive strong interest in the course, which we anticipate, Lionheart will seek outside funding to continue to offer the program after grant funds are depleted. Offering Making Time Count as an in-cell program gives us the opportunity to provide it to hundreds more people just entering the system. This also means that hundreds more copies of the Houses of Healing book will circulate to others within the system.

The newest CDCR 3-year Innovative Grant, ”The Houses of Healing Training: A Program to Prepare Lifers and Long-term Prisoners to Facilitate HOH, a High Impact Social-Emotional (Re)habilitation Program is in progress at the CA Medical Facility. There has been a very enthusiastic response from the men. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to train motivated prisoners to facilitate HOH programs for years to come. As you can see from the feedback above, giving prisoners the guidance and opportunity to make a positive difference launches many of them on a more hopeful and life-altering trajectory.

Power Source: Lionheart’s evidence-based program for highly at-risk adolescents and young adults
As a result of two targeted donations, Lionheart has completed the second Power Source outreach to Native American tribes. Most had very little relevant programming and after seeing the review copy, there was enthusiastic interest in the program. As one program director responded, “it was a unanimous vote of WOW and yes, we need this.” While another commented, “I think it will be perfect for our youth.” Tribes and programs included Yankton Sioux Tribe – Child Welfare, SD; Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate – Dakotah Pride Center, SD; Crow Nation Recovery Center, MT; Tipi/Rosebud Juvenile Detention Center, SD; Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, WI; and the Kaw Nation, OK.

EQ2: A trauma-informed program designed to increase the self-regulation skills of direct care workers
EQ2, with its many components, is expected to be complete and ready for distribution by the end of 2019. This has been a major undertaking. First the program was extensivey piloted. Lionheart has developed a 110 page workbook for participants and 150 page annotated workbook for facilitators. Additionally, EQ2 includes a Learning Management System (LMS) and an app, both of which are in the final stages of development. EQ2 has required the talents of a village in its creation. In addition to the exceptional and multifaceted job that Beth Casarjian, our clinical director, is doing, Lionheart has secured the talents of a content editor, graphic designer, videographers, app creator, tech instructional support specialist, and the artist who has created incredible watercolor images that are being utilized in the workbooks, LMS, and app. This is unquestionably our most complex project to date. We are excited to play a role in positively impacting the culture of residential care, making it a more healing community for both the youth and those who have the very challenging and potentially very rewarding job of direct-care worker in residential care.

Houses of Healing:

Our first Houses of Healing class graduated this past Friday… The change in these women was phenomenal and clearly recognized and acknowledged by them… Our participants have shared that this is the best of all the classes they have taken and some have taken all that’s been offered by their facility.”  Auburn, Alabama

Last month, The San Quentin News (circulation 22,000) published an article titled “Power Source group commemorates first-ever YOP (Youth Offender Program) graduation.” This article chronicles the creation and facilitation of the Power Source Program in San Quentin facilitated by long-term prisoners who have participated in rehabilitative programming and who are committed to helping others. The model of older prisoners facilitating the Power Source Program with young men on their yard is expanding.

Professional Trainings:
Last week, Beth conducted her second Power Source training for the NYC Department of Parole (DOP) as part of their Raise the Age initiative. Jess Linick, Ph.D., who has been rewriting the Power Source Facilitator’s Manual and contributing to Lionheart’s program development since last winter, delivered a part of this training as well. Jess will soon come on full-time at Lionheart. In addition to bringing her many other talents, Jess, who lives in NYC, will continue to work as a Lionheart trainer for the NYC DOP. Next month Beth will conduct another Power Source Parenting training for the MA Dept of Chidlren and Families.

Please help us to continue to make a life-changing difference in so many lives and move forward with increased impact. Generous support has brought us to this juncture.  To donate: https://lionheart.org/donation/

Most sincerely and gratefully yours,
Robin Casarjian, Executive Director

Prisoner Testimony on the Positive Impact of Lionheart’s Houses of Healing

28/10/19 0

We receive so many remarkable letters at Lionheart. I share the following as it is, in my opinion, an exquisite expression of what authentic healing looks likeRobin 

(names and other identifying information has been changed).

My name is Daniel and I am a 39 year old inmate in the state of California.  My incarceration began on the fateful night in the summer of 1998, when I partook in the violent armed robbery that ultimately led to to a death.  For many years I struggled with the idea of having to serve a 26 years to life sentence for my part in the crime because I simply looked at it as just being the getaway driver.  I lacked the sense and understanding to truly comprehend what my accountability was in this person’s death.  This led to the 12+ years of my incarceration to be filled with addiction to alcohol, drugs, and the criminal lifestyle.  It wasn’t until I finally transferred to another prison in 2010, that I started to distance myself from people and bad habits I had refined over the years.  It was out of desperation that I finally chose something different for myself rather than to continue living a life of insanity (doing the same things over and over again expecting different results).  I left one dire situation for another, but luckily 3 months after my transfer, another facility was accepting volunteers.  I jumped at the opportunity and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I had ever made in my life.  My journey to becoming a better man started to blossom.  Where I had previously thought I could do things on my own, I was finally able to come to terms with all those positive outlets I needed.  None of this was possible without the help of other inmates, my relationship with God, the many groups I attended and, of course, books.

The first book I ever read pertaining to change was the House of Healing.  It opened my eyes to so many harsh truths about myself that I wasn’t ever able to accept or acknowledge for most of my life.  Being a victim of abuse (verbal, physical, sexual) during my formative years really played a huge role in shaping my mind in a distorted fashion.  I grew up lonely, ashamed, burdened with guilt, and most of all angry at the world.  It’s no wonder I found it easy to turn to alcohol, drugs, and the gang lifestyle.  My anti-social behavior left many victims in my wake, and I lacked the compassion to even realize all the harm I was causing myself and others.  Taking the time to read that book helped me see deep within myself, and the light exposed a lot of those darkened areas of my past.  I was now able to accept things for how they happened and know that it wasn’t my fault at all.  I was simply an innocent child who lost out on his childhood and didn’t know any better.  Having someone else share their experience with me allowed a measure of faith I didn’t think was possible, but it proved to be pivotal in my path to living life to the fullest.

In short, this book (Houses of Healing) has launched my career as a new and better man, and I can’t help but think of how helpful it would be for others to get beyond their own troubles and experience the same type of healing I’ve been blessed with. When I left _____ State Prison, I never thought I’d lose access to this great and wonderful book. I was hoping that you could help me obtain the book and the curriculum that goes with it. This prison is known for being a reception center for inmates who go to fire camps, so it doesn’t offer a whole lot when it comes to cognitive behavior treatment.  I’m trying to get a group started so that I can continue to work on myself and help others.  It’s not just something I plan on doing in here, but something I plan to continue on the streets too.  For there is no better way to live life today than to do it giving back to others.  Any assistance you can give me pertaining to House of Healing would be most appreciated.  I promise to continue living life to the fullest in all joy, and promote a wonderful life full of healing.  Thank you for your help.  I remain forever in your debt. —–                               Sincerely,    Daniel

Lionheart’s Houses of Healing Offered to Prisoners in Solitary Confinement

23/10/19 0
Solitary ConfinementThe Houses of Healing Self-Study Course for Prisoners in Solitary ConfinementThe Houses of Healing Self-Study Program for Prisoners in Solitary Confinement delivered programming to more than 500 prisoners in the SHU at 3 California prisons. Death row inmates at CA’s San Quentin prison are also in solitary confinement and Lionheart is now offering the program there as well. To date, 35 men on death row have participated. Feedback from the men in both the SHU and death row implores us to keep offering the program even though it is no longer funded by the CDCR.  Word of mouth by the prisoners and enthusiastic endorsement by staff keep requests coming in.
“I recommend [this course to others] because it not only teaches you how to interact with yourself, it also contains exercises that develop the skills you need. One of the things I didn’t appreciate in my life was when people said I should change, but then wouldn’t show me how. I’m not saying my behavior was anyone’s fault, but how do you ask a blind person to describe the color blue if they’ve never seen it? How can you? – they have no point of reference. Same philosophy applies when asking someone to think in new ways.”  San Quentin Death Row
“Houses of Healing has been a turning point in my journey. It has helped me heal and for that I am extremely grateful… I can go on and on about how it’s impacted me but if I had to break it down to one word I would say I feel purified.”  Pelican Bay State Prison SHU, CA
The Houses of Healing Self-Study Program for Prisoners in Solitary was underwritten by a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Innovative Grant. This program is currently available to CDCR prisoners only.  Prison systems are welcome to inquire about the program if they are interested in making it available to prisoners within their solitary units.

Power Source: Outreach to Native American Tribes/Program for at risk youth.

21/10/19 0

Power Source: Lionheart’s evidence-based program for highly at-risk adolescents and young adults has been distributed to Native American Tribes in SD, MT, WI, ND and OK.

As a result of two targeted donations, Lionheart has completed the second Power Source outreach to Native American tribes. Most had very little relevant programming and after seeing the review copy, there was enthusiastic interest in the program.

As one recipient commented, “The program offers a gentle way of approaching very tough issues. I think it will be perfect for our youth.”

 

Lionheart’s Houses of Healing Program for Prisoners

16/10/19 0

At the core of The Lionheart Foundation’s National Emotional Literacy Project for Prisoners is the Houses of Healing Program, a powerful 13-session rehabilitation curriculum (book, facilitator manual, and video series) created specifically for prisoners and the formerly incarcerated. The centerpiece of this program is the book Houses of Healing: A Prisoners Guide to Inner Power and Freedom.  Houses of Healing (HOH) is a research driven, trauma-informed, cognitive-behavioral, emotional literacy (re)habilitation curriculum designed to offer skillful guidance and equip prisoners with the tools to effectively manage emotions, take stock of and heal the unresolved trauma that often plays a role in propelling criminal behavior, take responsibility for offending behavior, and change life-long patterns of violence and addiction in order to build productive lives.

Houses of Healing is being offered in prisons and jails across the country.  In California, the CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) is sponsoring the program in numerous prisons through the Innovative Grants Program.

Listen to what attendees who will learn how to facilitate the program to other prisoners have to say:

“Houses of Healing helped me to become vulnerable enough to see my

weaknesses. This is where the true work begins. I have learned how to be

proactive instead of reactive.”

“Houses of Healing has impacted my life by opening my eyes to thoughts and

feelings I didn’t know I had or still had. It provided me ways in which to bring my

life in balance.”

“HOH Program has come to have a profound impact on me. Through this program

I’ve come to see that I am worthy of forgiveness, which in turn allowed me to see

others as worthy of forgiveness as well.”

“I’m really glad I joined the class cause I was given great advice and insight. I

learned a lot about myself and experiences that affected me in a profound way

and shaped a lot about the path I took in life. I’ve learned how to become a better

person who is in control.”

“Even though you may not want to talk or participate, you often will find yourself

participating and talking.”

“Some of the most rewarding or positive experiences of being an insider-facilitator

for the HOH Program were being able to help others find a better and more

productive path in life. Seeing the change in people when they understand “why”

and gain hope for the future. Learning and connecting with others and feeling a

sense of purpose and value. I can have an impact on life, both mine and others…

sharing in the honesty and vulnerability of others as they open up.”

“Serving as an insider-facilitator has reconnected me with my journey, made me

appreciate my opportunities and the people who’ve helped me grow and has

reaffirmed my commitment to the change I want. It gave me leadership skills and

tools to really communicate.”

“I will seek out opportunities to facilitate this program because the program is a

continuous process of self-healing. It is a great form of therapy. I have grown

intellectually and emotionally.”

“This class has helped me to open up on past matters that have been destroying

my life.”

The Lionheart Foundation Profile on Guidestar: Highest Level of Transparency

09/10/19 0

The Lionheart Foundation earned a 2019 Platinum Seal of Transparency on our Nonprofit Profile on Guidestar.By sharing these important metrics, we’re helping the sector move beyond simplistic financial ratios to assess nonprofit progress. We chose to display quantitative information such as the free distribution of the Houses of Healing book used in groups, one on one counseling, and as a self-help resource to prisoners nationwide to represent how hard the Lionheart Foundation is working toward achieving our mission.

CHECK OUT OUR PROFILE: https://www.guidestar.org/Profile/6832824

We’re proud to have earned a Platinum Seal to share our full and complete story with the
world. To reach the highest level of transparency, we added extensive information to our
Nonprofit Profile: basic information about our missions, programs, leadership, etc.; indepth financial information; qualitative information about goals, strategies, and vision,
and the progress we are making toward our mission.

Coming Soon: EQ2 Program for Front Line Professionals working with Highly at-risk Youth

23/09/19 0

EQ2: Empowering Direct Care Staff to Build Trauma-Informed Communities for Youth

 EQ2 is a program designed to support direct-care staff working with high-risk, trauma-impacted youth, particularly those who have been involved in the child welfare or juvenile detention systems. Experts increasingly understand that managing the traumatic stress reactions that system-involved youth often present with can take a profound toll on the well-being of residential staff and result in trauma symptoms which permeate the larger organization. Secondary trauma has been shown to lead to increased levels of staff stress, burnout, and turnover, as well as lowered quality of care for youth. Recently, calls for “trauma-informed systemic approaches” have been issued to help agencies respond to youth and staff trauma-related needs.

Using the term, emotion coaching, Lionheart’s EQ2 program begins by increasing staffs’ awareness of youth trauma behavior, helping staff build relationship-focused competencies and expanding crisis intervention knowledge. What is unique about the EQ2 approach, however, is the focus on building staff’s own social and emotional skills including increased awareness of their emotional state when working with youth to prevent crisis, learning personalized cognitive-behavioral strategies to help staff co-regulate with youth, learning how to return to “emotional baseline” after stressful incidents, and building stress management and resiliency skills to handle the emotional fallout that is common when working with trauma-impacted youth.

Click here to find out more about Lionheart’s Program for highly at-risk youth.

International usage of Lionheart programs continues to expand … this time to India

02/09/19 0

Power Source in India:   Although not our focus, there continues to be enthusiasm for our resources internationally. Last week we received an email from a woman we have been in communication with in India. She wrote, “I just wanted to send you a quick note that we are getting ready to facilitate Power Source with the first group of 35 boys from the age of 16-18 in a juvenile home and a children’s home. There are those who were convicted for crimes and those who are street kids – abandoned or orphaned. We will be slowly translating these into Hindi and I feel like we will be able to adapt it to India. Please know that I am just deeply grateful to Lionheart for this gift to us and to the children of the world.

Learn more about the Power Source Program Here.

Purchase Power Source: Taking Charge of Your Life (supporting highly at-risk youth).  Here.

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