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July 2022

A Message from Rev. Terri!

Hello, Beloveds!

Since our last conversation in August, a lot has happened at Echo Glen and King County Juvenile Detention. It has created multiple challenges for volunteers. From COVID, to flu, to codes in residential units, to short-staffing that interrupts programming, to testing requirements…it’s a lot! I want to let you know how much I appreciate your flexibility, patience, and stick-to-it-iveness.

For your excellence throughout all of the chaos, we have an announcement or two:

Training

  • We will be resuming monthly meetings this month! On the third Thursdays. I shifted it from the second Thursday due to new conflicts. This month, Nick Kushner of Echo Glen will be joining us to talk to us about gangs. We meet on September 15 at 6:30 pm. To attend, please register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYrcOmoqj0uGNCGq8krX5iuaOUD19bG1MZy

  • Please email to me any questions you want Nick to address during the training!

National Making a Difference Day

  • October 22 is National Making a Difference Day. To celebrate, our training on October 20 at 6:30 will not be training, but a celebration! We are tentatively scheduled to have Fr. Boyle of Homeboy Industries as a speaker. If his schedule doesn’t work out, one of their staff will be joining us. Isn’t that cool?! This meeting is open to our wider community beyond the volunteers. To attend, please register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYrcOmoqj0uGNCGq8krX5iuaOUD19bG1MZy

  • This is the same link as the previous one, just select the October date!

Video Series for Christian Ministry

  • Kairos Prison Ministry has developed a video resource titled “Until We Come Back” that may help you with people you work with. Kairos describes it this way:

  • “Kairos has launched the video series "Until We Come Back!" This series of videos is made for facilities housing men, women, and youth, to engage them by offering words of encouragement, hope, and blessings. These short videos include messages from Kairos volunteers to let the inmates know they are not forgotten and are still being loved and prayed for.”

  • While the videos do reference Kairos Prison Ministry International, if you watch these with kids, just tell them to zip out KPMI and zip in YOU! Someday,

  • The link to access the videos is here: https://www.mykairos.org/until-we-come-back.html

  • Do you have any resources to share with your companions on this journey?

Board Members?

  • Last, if you are interested in supporting the organization through your time and talents and quarterly board meetings and you are in alignment with our vision and values, we would welcome a discussion with you about becoming a board member. Please email me at terri@circlefaithfuture.org to reach out!

Thank you all for being partners in this journey!

If you have any ideas or feel called to help in any way, please reach out! We are wiser and better together.

Love,
Rev. Terri Jane Stewart

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Notes from JoJo

Hello Youth Rise community,

A Lesson in Hope

As a bell hooks admirer, I look to her writing for encouragement, growth, guidance and perspective. Most recently, I’ve explored her work entitled “Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope”, from which I found the following quote:

“My hope emerges from those places of struggle where I witness individuals positively transforming their lives and the world around them.” – bell hooks

This quote brings to mind the many incarcerated youth who I've had the privilege of getting to know. All operating out of a place of struggle, working to positively transform their lives. There is one young person I’ve been working with who has been incarcerated for 5 years now and they’re facing another 10 years, to complete their sentence. It’s not difficult to imagine the sense of hopelessness one might feel when looking at this amount of time, especially as a juvenile. But this young person? Nope!

While incarcerated for the last 5 years, this young person has completed their GED, started college classes, completed a K9 program (multiple times), received a dog grooming certification, spoke at campus-wide events, participated in groups on campus, started writing a book and is on the way to completing a cosmetology degree. It was challenging and very exhausting at times, but this young person continued to have hope for a better future; they had hope for an appeal. While I had zero doubts about this youth’s ability to succeed in transforming their life and the world around them, I silently struggled to maintain hope in the system that had already failed them. Our weekly meetings continued as usual with the youth sounding hopeful, and me being cautiously optimistic.

Today, I’m excited to share the exciting news that this youth recently won their appeal! The years of working hard on themselves, working with their attorney and maintaining a sense of hopefulness has paid off. While there is still much work to be done, this means the youth could return to the community very soon. I’m so proud of this young person and their commitment to positively transforming their life and the world around them, despite the barriers they’ve faced. Thank you to this young person for recently providing me with this lesson on hope!

Peace,
JoJo

Amplifying Partner Voices: Community Passageways

The mission of Community Passageways is to create alternatives to incarceration for youth and young adults by rebuilding communities through committed relationships centered on love, compassion, and consistency.

I have known their leader, Dominique Davis for bunches of years now. He has taken an idea from infancy to greatness through the community that has walked along side him. They are doing great things!

To find out more information, go to communitypassageways.org

something, or even fix things for them, but seeing what happens when I've put aside those things that at the end of the day are actually ways of focusing on myself and protecting my own emotions, and instead just listening and receiving what these kids have to say has been the most profound experience of this summer.

I've worked with teenagers for eight years and there's something about working with incarcerated youth that changes so much of the game, it's this: at the end of the day, you must leave, and they must stay there, possibly for months or years. I cannot "help" them in the traditional sense, I cannot change anything about their circumstance, I can only listen, and reflect the beauty and belovedness I see. I cannot come in with any agenda or expectations about them or our time. I know I cannot be all things to all people, and there are some things I am able to only listen to as I learn and reflect or even just take the brunt of a storm as they're processing through the stressful or unjust events of the day. But there is also such a reward of trust and openness that comes when they know they've truly been heard, and they feel loved. I came across a quote that sums up perfectly why this is so important. "The act of being loved and the act of being heard are so similarly received in our brains, that most people don't feel a difference."

What I wish everyone knew about these kids is that they are just that, normal kids. I keep thinking as I hear their stories or see them react to situations, some tougher than I have ever had to live through, and I wonder if I had grown up with their life circumstances, if I would have done even half as well, been half as strong, or remained half as generous and kind and honest as these kids. I wish that people could learn to see these kids the way God sees them.

Our Gratitudes

What are you grateful for today?

I am so grateful for those who gather around us as we journey through this sometimes obtuse system. I am grateful specifically for JoJo and Byron who have taken on so much work. And, I am grateful for the volunteers I see on the grounds faithfully every day.

I’m grateful for a renewed sense of hope for the young people we’re working with! It’s easy to become disheartened while watching our systems fail our youth, but with some words from bell hooks and powerful conversation with these young people, I am hopeful! Chaplain JoJo

One Myth

The use of jail and prison is the best way to prevent crime.

While jail and prison do indeed prevent crime while people are incarcerated, once released, incarceration has, at best, a negligible impact on crime prevention and, at worst, is crime-producing.

Source: National Institute of Corrections report: Myths & facts: Why incarceration is not the best way to keep communities safe.

One Fact

  • Those confined to prison recidivate at higher rates than those sentenced to community corrections.

  • Incarceration can increase recidivism.

  • Most people who become incarcerated do not receive the treatment and rehabilitative services they need to live a crime-free lifestyle.

  • Harsh penalties do not improve long-term outcomes.

  • Confinement for probation violations has been found to increase recidivism.

I can’t resist the comment: We hear the phrase, “Do the crime, do the time.” The truth is this: “Do the time, do more crime.” -Rev. Terri

One Practice

Vicarious trauma is a process of change resulting from empathetic engagement with trauma survivors. One thing we can do to help ourselves stay healthy enough to provide empathetic engagement with others is to regularly practice some self-care. Self-care is not an occasional event, but a regular and deepening practice that connects you to yourself, others, and for believers, God. Practices should bring you into the present moment. We call that zerotasking. This month’s practice is:

Inspiration Journaling

Develop a journal for quotes, poetry and Scripture that have touched you. Reflect on these words and their significance to you.

Source: Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

Peace,
Rev. Terri Stewart