My sister Madeleine Trichel has been a weekly volunteer for 15 years at Marion Correctional Center in Columbus, OH. Men may apply to join the one-year multifaith Horizon Prison Initiative. Goals: Face the reality that brought you to prison. Become a man of faith. Learn to live in a functioning family. Contribute to a larger community.
The men live in family groups (“cubes”) of 6 and learn about their own and others’ religion, how to get along with people of different backgrounds (faith, race, ethnicity), how to communicate, and so on.
In Jan. 2015, I went with the volunteers when the guys had a special assignment: Discuss the strengths each of you brings into your group, and what are the characteristics you would want if a 7th man were to join you. They used words and illustrations to make their presentations. I took out their names for privacy reasons, but wanted to share their work.
“This plane is called the Super Supportive 3000, because it can do 3000 things. But let me tell you about this strange, uniquely constructed plane. He’s very supportive. His wings support not only himself but you as well. He’s very studious; he studies where he needs to go, where he needs to be, when he needs to rest and when he needs fuel hope. He’s also very strong: can fly through a tornado or whatever the weather is. He can hold up to a million pounds, possibly more. He’s very funny, can tell jokes, but he’s also funny looking. I can’t tell you everything he is, so come check him out.”
“THE AMAZING T HAS DONE THE UNTHINKABLE!
“The world’s strongest all around man. Comes from the Transformer family. In the midst of his confidence he is humble, helpful, meek, and loyal. With bold discipline he brings honest persistence, with positivity and joy. He is tolerant and forgiving of others, with a wise and creative self-starting personality. He is helpful in many ways due to his spiritual excellence and willingness to pray. It is nice to see his giving nature. He is highly intelligent and an awesome disciple. Only a man that owns these qualities can bear the weight that he has.”
“Once upon a time during cycle 15, God’s Warriors had to put their spiritual armor on and go to war against Satan and his demons. They stood therefore being girded their waist with truth, having put on the breast plate of righteousness, and having shod their feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace and above all they took the shield of truth and faith with which they were able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And they took the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit and were able to put Satan and his demands behind them. After the battle, when they walked back to one dorm, they came across a young man who was weak and afraid. One of them taught the young man how to be methodical. Another taught him how to be a man of his word. A third taught him how to be disciplined. The fourth taught him how to be thoughtful. The fifth taught him how to be supportive. The sixth taught him how to be perceptive. After God’s Warriors fed these characteristics to the young man, the young man became a new creation, old things have passed away, behold all things have become new. The young man was of God and God’s Warrior. The young man is known as King Leanightess!”
Final note: The program works! Recidivism is down and education is up. Kudos to the volunteers who have worked with these guys year after year.