Sept 21, 2016
I am leaving behind a lot of things. A CD player. A bunch of CDs. Radio. Speakers. Winter Clothes, and my positivity to these guys so they don’t lose hope in kindness. Many people became saddened that I am leaving because they do not experience the kind of positivity I put out in the form of kindness, compassion, understanding and love. However, these guys understand that it is part of my story to go and prepare to go home. What I do know is that I inspired hope in a place where hope did not exist. If a person like me with my past can change and transcend his inner darkness and actually rehabilitate himself, as well as succeed with parole preparations, well then, they can also achieve such a miracle. So now, I have a large crowd that want to imitate my path … The only person in this yard, to get a grant and be approved by the prison to get sponsored to facilitate my group – My GOGI Group [Going Out by Going In]! The prison give me the GOGI materials for my students. It all started by the story the warden, the prison staff and Coach Taylor heard on how I was conducting my GOGI Group. As you know, here, we go on many lockdowns. So what I did, I recruited one of the officers to make copies for me, in regards of my GOGI material and literature. When we would go on lockdown, I would hold my group through the door on the tier, and “fish” people’s homework and mail it myself with my own stamps to the Los Angeles GOGI offices. Each week I did this. When we came off of lockdown, we conducted the group in the dayroom. Each week I did this. Until I earned my own Peer Coach Certification for facilitating the group and I earned some of these guys certificates to positive decision making. I guess theory went viral here at the prison! Now I have my own space and time in the chapel for my students, and am funded by the prison.
Follow this link to sign up for updates from Ernesto and other prisoner friends: http://eepurl.com/cS0m11