"I had a wonderful day at the prison." Those are my words almost every time I come home after volunteering at the Deer Ridge Correctional Institution (DRCI) in Madras. I get to see people light up with hope as they learn new skills, make a positive difference, and connect with themselves and others in a more compassionate/ nonviolent way.
Those of you who donate to the Center for Compassionate Living make the classes and the practice group possible, and your donations also support Pro-Social Communication Workgroup (PSCWG) projects. (For example, I just finished making hundreds of copies of six original holiday cards created by a DRCI artist that will be available for inmates to color and send home to their kids, friends, and other family members.)
The PSCWG includes inmate volunteers, a staff person, and me. For the last four years we have created activities, workshops, events, and programs for DRCI residents so they can “make their time count” by growing in pro-social, positive ways. Hundreds of men participate in the various programs and activities.
Here are a few of our projects:
The Challenge: an individual goal-setting program with peer representatives who encourage and support positive achievement.
Socials: inmate-created and led workshops that build communication, relationship, time-management, mindfulness, self-mastery, and other specific skills.
Activity nights: opportunities for inmates to talk, play games, create art, make music, discuss books, etc. (Pro-Social leisure activities are important to the future success of men whose lives have been centered on anti-social activities.)
Gratitudes: inmates submit Gratitudes to recognize positive acts of kindness, responsibility, support, etc. of their peers and of DRCI staff. Those honored receive a certificate describing their actions and all recipients are acknowledged in the monthly newsletter.
Your donations empower people to grow, learn, and become better men, fathers, husbands, and citizens. They are truly touched and encouraged by your caring and support—that people see value in them even though they have made mistakes.
A recent gratitude to you from a Deer Ridge inmate:
Thank you for everything you provide us here at Deer Ridge… I leave every class feeling grateful and invigorated.
If you would enjoy making an end-of-year contribution to the Center for Compassionate Living to support all of our work in Central Oregon, we would be deeply grateful. You can donate online, or send a check to CCL, 803 SW Industrial Way, Ste. 200, Bend, OR 97702. We are a 501(C)3 nonprofit and the deduction is tax-deductible.