The Lionheart Foundation Spring Update 2019

08/05/19 0

Dear Friend of Lionheart,

As always, I hope this finds you very peaceful and well.

I am delighted to be sending you Lionheart’s 2019 Spring update. Our growth, after many years of methodical and steady progress, is on the verge of significant leaps forward. Since our last update Lionheart has received its fourth “Innovative Grant” from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation which we will launch in June. After a long gestation period EQ2, Lionheart’s new “emotion coaching” program for direct-care staff working with adolescents in residential care and juvenile detention, is nearing completion and we are gearing up for an expanded approach to its distribution. Lionheart is very fortunate to have two exceptional new hires who it is my pleasure to introduce to you in this update.

Support from generous donors, foundations, and state agencies has been the steadying force that has fueled this evolution for Lionheart. It has been a lifeline of hope, encouragement, and growth for the young people and adults whom we serve – populations who are often hanging on by a fragile hope that life could be better. THANK YOU for making our progress and our increasing impact possible!

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

The newest “Innovative Grant” Lionheart has received from the CDCR is for The Houses of Healing Training: A Program to Prepare Lifers and Long-term Prisoners to Facilitate a High Impact Social-Emotional (Re)habilitation Program. This 3-year grant is similar to the Power Source Training that is currently in progress within two CDCR institutions. The Power Source Training prepares select lifers and long-termers to facilitate the Power Source Program with 18-24 year olds on their yard. This newest grant prepares lifers and long-termers to deliver the Houses of Healing Program to men of any age on their yard.

“I am writing this quick note to let you know we are near the half-way point in the Power Source Training at CA State Prison – Mule Creek. I am really looking forward to completing the training & beginning the Power Source classes. The emotional healing & maturity the program has helped me to experience has changed my life and the quality of my relationships so much that I can’t believe this is real at times. But it is! I’m excited to continue delivering the curriculum for the young offenders. I know it will change their lives for the better in so many ways.” Alex, Lifer and PS training participant

“I’m very thankful now that I’ve been doing “good things”. Good energy, good people, good news been coming into my life with the great deal of help of “Houses of Healing” for opening my eyes, my heart, my mind. For the first time here I can truly say with feeling and conviction that “I feel free”- mind and soul! I am so grateful for this facilitator training program. I feel better about myself as a person, a man, and now I must keep walking this way to help others… I’m working, helping, living this way from now on.” Tom, PS training participant

During the last year, through another 3-year Innovative Grant, Lionheart has been delivering a program titled “Making Time Count: Making the Most of Your Time Behind Bars” to incoming prisoners in the San Quentin Reception Center where they spend their first 2-6 months. The program introduces them to about half of the Houses of Healing curriculum. Making Time Count classes accommodate 15 men at a time from each of the two “dorms” where it is offered. Currently each dorm has about 75 men on the waiting list. As a result of the challenges of facilitating in the transient Reception Center and the large demand, we are now translating the program into a self-study program which will give everyone who is motivated to “make their time count” the opportunity to participate.

Lionheart is going to seek funding to offer the self-study version in other CDCR Reception Centers as well. Our goal?… to be able to offer this to all incoming prisoners in CA – and then expand the program to other states! We will be reaching out to charitable foundations in CA to support this effort. As always, support and funding suggestions are more than welcome!

While we have been focusing on delivering the prison programs funded by the Innovative Grants, requests for Houses of Healing continue to come in from prisoners around the country.

“I am an inmate in Henning, TN. I am turning my life around and am doing everything I can to better myself so that I can be a better mother and a better citizen. I had a rough childhood but it is no excuse for my battle with drug addiction. I have been told about a book called Houses of Healing by several others. I was told that it would help me recover with more than just addiction. I hear that Houses of Healing is a life changer.” Christine. Women’s Therapeutic Residential Center – West Tennessee State Penitentiary

“I would definitely recommend HOH to others because it cracks the hard shell of the self-created personas created to survive in the streets. It installs compassion or turns it back on when its turned off. I love this course.” Augustus, New Jersey State Prison

The HOH Self-Study Course for Prisoners in Solitary: Although the grant that funded the selfstudy program for those in solitary ended in 2017, Lionheart continues to offer this course to prisoners in CA’s solitary units both in Pelican Bay and CSP-Corcoran. In total about 600 prisoners in CA solitary units (otherwise referred to as SHUs – Special Housing Units) have registered for the program. Feedback continues to be outstanding.

The HOH Self-Study Course for Prisoners on CA’s Death Row: To date an additional 50 men on CA’s death row have participated in the HOH Self-study Program. Perhaps you are aware that CA’s governor, Gavin Newsom, signed an executive order to impose a moratorium on the death penalty in the state. The 737 people on death row will likely stay there indefinitely.

Power Source (PS)

After 20+ years of being in the field, this year is turning out to be a transitional year for Power Source, Lionheart’s program for highly at-risk adolescents. In February, The Department of Justice (DOJ), through its site CrimeSolutions.gov, added Power Source to their list of “what works in juvenile justice.” , CrimeSolutions.gov is an effort undertaken by the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to identify effective, quality programs and practices in the fields of criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victimization to serve as evidence-based models for the field. Being included in this repository of evidence-based practices significantly raises the profile of the Power Source program. It is also now included in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP’s) Model Programs Guide.

Power Source Facilitator Manual Revision: The original PS Facilitator’s Manual was published in 2003. With the creation of the Power Source Workbook and valuable input from colleagues who have been utilizing the Power Source Program, Lionheart has hired Dr. Jess Linick to revise the manual. Jess served as a PS facilitator for our NIH PS study from 2005-2008 so she came on board with intimate knowledge of the program. Most recently she served as senior supervising psychologist at Horizons Secure Juvenile Detention Center in the Bronx (run by the NYC Administration of Children’s Services). Her extensive knowledge of other SEL (SocialEmotional Learning) programs, honed clinical skills, experience in curriculum development and in working with system involved youth, make her an exceptional addition to Lionheart’s staff. We are excited (and very relieved) to have Jess join us to lead the evolution of the PS program at this important juncture. We are already experiencing the benefit of her enormous value-added at Lionheart and we anticipate Jess taking on the position of Lionheart’s Director of Training.

EQ2 Beth is in the final stage of piloting EQ2. In December Lionheart received two new grants to support final rounds of piloting: one from The Boston Foundation to conduct two groups and a second from the TJX Foundation to conduct an additional two groups. These 4 groups are being held at The Home for Little Wanderers, Roca, The Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Defense Fund, and Centerboard – all in the Boston area.

“I thought that I was being objective in most situations but realized that there were definitely better ways to go about things.”

“EQ2 allowed me to step outside of the frustration of behavioral management and recall what drives me to do this work.” Direct care workers – residential care

With generous support from the Boston Foundation we will also begin piloting EQ2 in a Connecticut juvenile detention center this week as a version of EQ2 is created specifically for staff in this setting.

Our second new hire is Elizabeth Wilcox, an experienced content strategist and Lionheart’s new part-time “productizer.” Elizabeth will be spearheading the online content development, marketing, and distribution of EQ2. She will bring her expertise to developing an online Learning Management System (LMS) that will be home of the EQ2 training content. Agencies wishing to use EQ2 will gain access to the printed version of the program only after completing a 6-session online training which will be created this summer. The licensing approach that will serve as the mechanism for distributing EQ2 will allow Lionheart to distribute new content as it is developed, as well as offer webinars and other trainings. We are so grateful to have Jess and Elizabeth join our team during this time of exciting expansion.

Moving Forward Lionheart’s new marketing efforts will build upon our strong internet presence. With our Adwords account donated by Google, Lionheart has had 8465 visits to our website in the past 30 days. Our sales have been strong and with the launch of new resources we expect this to grow.

Lionheart recently received the 2019 Platinum Seal of Transparency on GuideStar. GuideStar’s stated mission is “to revolutionize philanthropy by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better decisions, and encourages charitable giving.“ With this recognition, GuideStar wrote: “You’re helping the sector shift from a destructive focus on overhead ratios to a focus on making progress and getting results – Thank you!”

“Thank you” to our generous supporters for empowering us to bring our programs to the thousands of youth and adults who NEED what our programs have to offer in order to live workable and meaningful lives. Thanks again for helping us to get the transformative results that Lionheart’s programs support. Please help us keep this positive and forward-reaching momentum strong and give as generously as you can.

As always, I am Most sincerely and gratefully yours,

Robin

The Lionheart Foundation: Overview

06/05/19 0

Lionheart Overview

The Lionheart Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, serves prisoners, highly at risk youth, and at risk teen parents and the professionals who work with them nationwide:

  • Creates exceptional quality curricula resources and programs and provides direct emotional literacy education programs to our target populations through staff and volunteers.
  • Provides resources and training for professionals who work with our target populations.
  • Identifies a vast array of programs and institutions and effectively delivers our resources to those they are intended to serve.
  • Assures exposure to our resources through free nationwide distribution, knowing that without it only a tiny fraction of those who could benefit would be given the opportunity.
  • Promotes our resources and programs through The Lionheart Website ( www.lionheart.org ) Online Marketing and Social Media Channels.
  • Conducts research on the efficacy of our programs to meet the demand for evidence-based materials.
  • And, conducts public education on the need for transforming our nation’s prisons and juvenile institutions into places where inspiring positive values and teaching skills necessary for healthy functioning in our communities are primary goals.

After 25 years, Lionheart is still moving forward, full tilt, developing resources that will serve for decades, changing lives in profound ways, and making significant contributions to the professional literature and cutting-edge field of social-emotional learning ( SEL ).

 

 

Lionheart’s EQ2 presented at Assoc. of Children’s Residential Ctr. Conference

01/05/19 0

EQ2, Lionheart’s social and emotional coaching program for front-line staff working with individuals who have experienced complex trauma, is in final stages of development.  A workshop on EQ2 was presented at the 64th annual conference of the Association of Children’s Residential Centers in New Orleans (April 2019).

Dr. Bethany Casarjian, creator of the program, presented a workshop titled More Than a Deep Breath:  How Increasing Our Own Self-Regulation Skills Can Magnify the Impact of Trauma-Informed Care.   She introduced Lionheart’s upcoming program for direct-care staff, EQ2 and the concepts therein,  to the more than 70 professionals who attended the workshop– helping staff/agencies build more trauma-informed environments.

The EQ2 program is scheduled to be available in Fall 2019.

In addition, information was disseminated at the conference about the Power Source Program, Lionheart’s evidence-based, trauma-informed, program for highly at risk youth.  For more information about Power Source Click here. 

Making the Most of Your Time Behind Bars

17/04/19 0

Old prison solitary confinement cell block.

Starting in 2018, through another 3-year Innovative Grant from the CA Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation, The Lionheart Foundation has been delivering a program titled “Making Time Count: Making the Most of Your Time Behind Bars” to incoming prisoners in the San Quentin Reception Center where they spend their first 2-6 months. The program introduces them to about half of the Houses of Healing curriculum. Making Time Count classes accommodate 15 men at a time from each of the two “dorms” where it is offered. Currently each dorm has about 75 men on the waiting list. As a result of the challenges of facilitating in the transient Reception Center and the large demand, we are now translating the program into a self-study program which will give every prisoner who is motivated to “make their time count” the opportunity to participate.  www.lionheart.org

About the Book Houses of Healing

Lionheart’s Houses of Healing Program in Solitary Confinement

17/04/19 0

The HOH Self-Study Course for Prisoners in Solitary: Although the CDCR (CA Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation) grant that funded the self-study program for those in solitary ended in 2017, The Lionheart Foundation continues to offer this course to prisoners in CA’s solitary units both in Pelican Bay and CSP-Corcoran. In total about 600 prisoners in CA solitary units (otherwise referred to as SHUs – Special Housing Units) have registered for the program. Feedback continues to be outstanding.

Power Source Parenting for Teen Parents

15/04/19 0

The Lionheart Foundation’s curriculum, Power Source Parenting (PSP), is designed to give teen parents the guidance and skills they need to become loving, effective parents and raise healthy children.  PSP is a practical, accessible, and innovative book/curriculum written for teen and young adult parents and the professionals who support them.

The book, Power Source Parenting: Growing Up Strong and Raising Healthy Kids, is the centerpiece of the project.  Among topics included in the book are:

  • Creating a healthy attachment to one’s child
  • Coping with the stress of parenting in adaptive ways
  • Implementing positive discipline practices
  • Managing three generational living
  • Establishing healthy relationships with partners
  • Breaking cycles of domestic violence
  • Bringing awareness to patterns of high-risk behavior and it’s effects on one’s children
  • A section for fathers that addresses becoming a father in the wake of a fatherless upbringing and helping young fathers identify possible contributions not contingent upon finances.

Power Source Parenting can be read by young parents on their own, or the concepts, exercises, and numerous first-hand stories by young parents can be introduced and explored in facilitated parenting groups or during individual home visits, or counseling sessions.

Special pricing and free shipping (with the U.S.) is available throughout April 2019.

Read more:  https://lionheart.org/youth/the_power_source_parenting_program/

To order:  https://lionheart.org/resources_for_prisoner_at_risk_youth_teen_parents/order/#power-source-parenting

Evidenced-based Power Source Program

18/03/19 0

The Power Source Program was created to empower youth at-risk with the social, emotional, and behavioral skills associated with paths of healthy development and permanent disengagement from the prison pipeline.

This evidence-based and widely embraced program helps adolescents learn effective strategies to manage challenging emotions, reduce engagement in interpersonal violence, heal from histories of trauma, discover alternative coping strategies to substance abuse, while equipping them with the skills that promise success in school, the workplace, and in the larger world.

Recently, The Power Source Program, was accepted into CrimeSolutions.gov, an evidence-based repository which serves as a clearinghouse of information about what works and what has been identified as promising in justice programs and practices. The CrimeSolutions.gov project, overseen by the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice, reviewed the existing research literature to identify “effective, quality programs and practices in the fields of criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victimization to serve as evidence-based models for the field.”

In addition to being listed in Crime Solutions, The Power Source program will also be included in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP’s) Model Programs Guide.

Lionheart’s Power Source Program / Promising Justice Program, Practice

13/03/19 0

In March of 2019 The Power Source Program was accepted into CrimeSolutions.gov, an evidence-based repository which serves as a clearinghouse of information about what works and what has been identified as promising in justice programs and practices. The CrimeSolutions.gov project, overseen by the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice, reviewed the existing research literature to identify “effective, quality programs and practices in the fields of criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victimization to serve as evidence-based models for the field.”

In addition to being listed in Crime Solutions, The Power Source program will also be included in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP’s) Model Programs Guide.

Social Security Disability Benefits and Prison

29/10/18 0

Submitted by:  Eric Minghella


If you or someone you love is incarcerated and on Social Security disability benefits, it’s likely your benefits will be affected while you’re serving your sentence. Thousands of people on Social Security disability serve prison sentences just like the able-bodied population, so the Social Security Administration (SSA) has resources available for people on disability benefits who go to prison. Here’s how your monthly benefits will be affected when you serve time:
Do You Keep Receiving Benefits?
You will not continue to receive benefits if you’re in prison for 30 days or longer, but it’ll be easy to reinstate benefits once you’re released. Those on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) qualify for rapid reinstatement as soon as they’re released, so long as the status of your disability hasn’t changed. Those on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will also be eligible for rapid reinstatement, so long as they weren’t incarcerated for over a year. After 12 months, you’ll need to reapply for SSI once you’re released.
The good news is if you’re on SSDI benefits and you have a dependent family member receiving additional benefits on your behalf, such as a spouse or a minor child, they’ll continue to receive their monthly payments while you’re in prison.
What About Health Insurance?
Most people on SSDI or SSI will be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid respectively. Those on Medicare Part A will maintain health insurance eligibility without any interruptions. Those on Medicare Part B will lose Part B of their benefits unless they continue to pay their monthly premiums.
Medicaid is a little trickier because it’s awarded on a state-by-state basis. You’ll need to contact your local Medicaid office to ensure you’ll remain enrolled in the plan, but you can get a referral form to provide to your local social services office from the SSA’s website.
When Can I Reapply?
The best time to reapply to get your disability benefits reinstated is as soon as you receive your prison release records. You may receive this paperwork up to 60 days before you’re actually released from prison. While you won’t be able to receive benefits before you’re released, you can still apply with the release paperwork so the SSA can get started on processing your claim. This is a great way to ensure that your benefits will start as soon as you’re released. If you don’t have a prerelease agreement, you can still start the process as soon as you think you’ll be released.
To get started with reapplying for Social Security disability after you’re released from a correctional facility, you can call the SSA toll free at 1-800-772-1213 or reapply online through your My Social Security Account. A family member can also make an appointment to apply on your behalf at your closest Social Security office. Good times to call the SSA are first thing in the morning (7-8 A.M.), as wait times become very long throughout the day.
Resources Found Via:

https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/ssi/

https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/ssdi/qualify-for-ssdi

Links to guided meditations by Robin Casarjian, The Lionheart Foundation.

15/10/18 0

Meditation is the quiet motor underlying all of the Lionheart Foundation’s social emotional literacy programs to prisoners, highly at risk youth and at risk teen parents nationwide. Lionheart programs are offered in prisons, juvenile institutions, schools and community programming.

Click on the link below to access two guided meditations by Robin Casarjian, Executive Director of the Lionheart Foundation, Boston, MA.

Meditation

 

 

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