- Days since my release from 26 years in prison: 121
- Miles run today: 0
- Miles run this week: 35.8
- Miles run during the calendar month: 55.8
- Marathon distances completed: 12
- Weight: 166
Journal of activities:
Today was my day to teach at the Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall. I woke at 3:15, showered, and prepared for the full day of work. I left my house at 4:00 am and drove to San Jose, then stopped at a downtown bagel shop to complete some correspondence while I waited for the day to begin. At 7:00 I showed up at the hall for a visit with Dr. Angela Haick. After discussing the day’s schedule, she brought me to speak with a 16-year old who expressed a full commitment to gang life. During our conversation, I tried to help the young man see a better way of life, but this first individual wasn’t ready to receive the message. He expressed a willingness to die or serve the rest of his life in a solitary cell in prison. I left that conversation with an understanding that some people will resist the message initially, but may come around later.
Following the one-one-one meeting, Dr. Haick escorted me to a classroom where I spoke with a group of juveniles who had been charged with serious crimes, including murder, rape, armed robbery. They were all under the age of 18. I walked them through the story of my journey through prison and I explained the Straight-A Guide program to them. They were much more receptive, understanding that they were on their way into the prison system to serve lengthy terms. I’m convinced that they saw the possibility for a better life. They said that they understood improvements would not happen by accident, but through the deliberate choices they made. Following that presentation, I made another one hour presentation in front about 100 students, and then I addressed two more groups of young men who were expected to serve long terms in confinement.
After all of my student presentations, I addressed a group of teachers for 3.5 hours. I walked them through my story, then helped them understand how I use the Straight-A Guide life skills program as a resource to teach at-risk populations. More than 20 teachers and probation officers were in the room. I really enjoyed the opportunity and many expressed enthusiasm about beginning to teach the curriculum. One teacher, Mitzi, will begin teaching today.
Making that contribution to Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall really enlivened me. I’m glad that others are finding value in our Straight-A Guide Life Skills Program.