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