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.

Program to Prepare Lifers and Long-term Prisoners to Facilitate a High-Impact Program to Young Prisoners

02/09/19 0

The POWER SOURCE Training: A Program to Prepare Lifers and Long-termers to Facilitate a High Impact Program for Young Prisoners (18-24): This program, being delivered in two CA prisons, is proving to be a great success. A high percentage of the young men reported being able to handle their anger in a more positive way, take more responsibility for their actions, have greater insight into their choices, and live with greater hope. All participants reported that they would recommend the program to others. Survey feedback from the young adult prisoners in the first round of the program facilitated by lifers and long-termers included:

…. The impact has been great.  There’s so much I’ve learned & grown to understand. …. It helped me to see things in a positive way even when it was a bad day. …. I thought I was stuck in my ways & that’s not the case. We just needed a lil guidance to return to our true selves. …. It gave me insight into my life – now I look at everything differently. …. The Power Source program has given me the “tools” to not only better my life but if my son, nieces, or nephews have any questions about problems as they get older I will be able to answer them truthfully just like I wish someone in my family would have done     for me.

…. If it can help an anti-social pessimist like myself then it can help anyone.

When we asked the young men enrolled in the Power Source Program what the pros and cons of having older prisoners facilitate, their responses included: We have positive prisoners to teach us right from wrong;  They walked the same walk I did growing up, with gangs, crime, drugs & money;  They know firsthand what it is like to be in my shoes;  When I feel like I’m going to screw up I know I can talk to them;  He would encourage me to come to group whenever he saw me in the yard.

Clearly, when given the opportunity to facilitate this structured social and emotional learning program for young prisoners, the lifers and long-termers are taking it to heart and impressively rising to the occasion. What an invaluable resource right there in the prison! Hopefully when the findings of this program are published, they will inspire many other prison systems to offer the same training.

As we had anticipated and hoped for, prisoner-facilitators also greatly benefitted from the groups. One wrote, “facilitating allows for the creation of purpose, meaning, and restora-tion.” In the surveys distributed at the end of the program other prisoner-facilitators wrote:

  • It is rewarding but also a great responsibility. I’ve learned more about myself and have been conscious of my thoughts, words, and actions to make sure I model the behavior I want the youngsters to adopt.
  • It’s giving me a sense of giving back. I feel like I’m actually living out my “living amends”.
  • A highlight was to see the “light-bulb” go on in a young person’s mind as a direct result of hearing a concept or idea from the curriculum.
  • It has reinforced my belief that groups, if well led and consistently held have the power to change lives.

 

Making the Most of Your Time Behind Bars

02/09/19 0

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.

Learn more about Houses of Healing here.  https://lionheart.org/prison/project/

Purchase  Houses of Healing: A Prisoner’s guide to Inner Power and Freedom.  Click here.

HOUSES OF HEALING TRAINING – CDCR INNOVATIVE GRANTS

28/08/19 0

INNOVATIVE GRANTS from the CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation 

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

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