Days since my release from 26 years in prison: 10
Time I woke: 4:50 am
Journal of activities:
I had a full day of meetings in Los Angeles today and the meetings went extraordinarily well. Justin has done a great job of packing the day with opportunities to spread the word about our Straight-A Guide program and I appreciate the hard work he has put into bringing our Straight-A Guide reentry program to the attention of others. Our first meeting was with Larry, a teacher of the Orange County Department of Education. We were at his office at 7:00 am. Justin introduced me and I gave a thumbnail sketch about my journey and the program that we’re working to create. Larry had already read several books that I wrote so he was familiar with my story. He has been using the Straight-A Guide as a teaching resource for longer than a year and he looked forward to using the new video-based program. We agreed to return to Orange County and meet with him in September to present the program to his colleagues.
After leaving Larry, we drove to the National Guard’s Challenge Academy known as Sunburst. We met with several directors, principals, and leaders from the National Guard. I’m really grateful to have had an opportunity to make a presentation at Sunburst. The day included a full tour of the academy and concluded with a two-hour presentation that I gave to more than 250 people. The young men and women who heard the message gave me a really enthusiastic reception, boosting hopes that I could make a contribution.
After the presentation at Sunburst, we drove to Norwalk for a visit with my grandmother and my mother. More than 29 years have passed since my previous visit to my grandmother’s house and it was the first time she has since me since my release from prison. The busy schedule meant that I did not have much time to visit, as Justin had scheduled a dinner meeting with supporters of our program. I had dinner with Julio Marcial from the California Wellness Foundation; Brock Harris, a successful real estate entrepreneur and board member of the Michael G. Santos Foundation; Lori Levine, a law student at Loyola Law School; and Jimmy Wu, a case manager for the InsideOUT Writer’s Program. We discussed the challenges we face in working to prepare more offenders for law-abiding, contributing lives. Julio invited me to deliver the Keynote address at a conference in Orange County this coming October.
- Time: No exercise
- Lenght of time: 0
- Miles run today: 0
- Weather: Beautiful weather in sunny Los Angeles
- Consecutive days: 0
- Cumulative miles since day off: 0
- Pushups today: 0
- Cumulative pushups for month: 0
- Annual marathon tally: 6
I began the morning with a silent prayer thanking God for the blessings in my life. I asked for guidance as I advanced through this first day of a three-day sales trip. Before I slept, I thanked God again for opening new opportunities throughout the day.
Today I met with many people, but I cannot recall of the names. My first meeting was with Justin Paperny. He drove me to an office in Orange County where we met with Larry Coonradt from the Orange County Department of Education. After our meeting with Larry, Justin and I drove to another meeting at the National Guard’s Challenge Academy known as Sunburst. I met with Mary Lou Vachet and her staff to discuss implementing the Straight-A Guide program to cadets in her environment. We met several military personnel and teachers who educate at-risk youth on the principals of leadership. Following our meeting at Sunburst, Justin drove me to visit my grandmother and mother. We visited for one hour, then I attended a dinner meeting at a restaurant in Los Feliz where I met Brock Harris, Lori Levine, Jimmy Wu, Julio Marcial, and Justin.
Links to publications:
Those who want to read more about the impressive institutions who are using the Straight-A Guide Reentry Program as a teaching tool may way to visit the Sunburst Academy website. They also offer some impressive videos on YouTube.