Looking for uplifting stories to create a good start to your week? You've come to the right place! Read below for stories from people who are doing the most good for the universe.
On April 15th, 2021, Auria Morales left prison a free woman, after serving 14 years for murder. She was the 37th person to be freed by Beyond Guilt, a project started two years ago by the Ohio Justice & Policy Center ("OJPC").
Unlike the Innocence Project, Beyond Guilt seeks to free over-punished people who admit guilt, have served a lengthy sentence for a serious offense, and have rehabilitated themselves.
To date, Beyond Guilt's track record has been flawless. Of the 37 people who have been released, all are doing well in the community. None have recidivated.
Beyond Guilt is the brainchild of David A. Singleton, a Harvard-educated attorney who serves as OJPC's executive director. At Singleton's Direction, OJPC launched Beyond Guilt to address the problem of mass incarceration. "The United States leads the world in incarceration with 2.2 million people behind bars, many of whom have transformed themselves and can safely be released," says Singleton. "If we are really serious about ending mass incarceration, then we must focus on people who have served long sentences for violent crimes but no longer pose a danger to society."
Angelo Robinson, Beyond Guilt's first client, is proof that there is more to an incarcerated person's story than guilt. Angelo, who spend 22 years in prison for murder, walked free on August 1, 2019, seven years before he was eligible for parole. Today, Angelo works fulltime at a tool factory, earns straight A's at the local community college, and lives in the home he purchased last fall.
Though only at the beginning of her post-release journey, Auria is already off to a good start. She works at a church café and is looking to return to school. "I'm so grateful for my second chance and will make the most of it," says Auria.
Harvest Compassion Center
Harvest Compassion Center is thrilled to kick off their 6th Annual Back-2-School School Backpack and School Supply Drive this July 2021! Help spread the word, collect, and donate brand new backpacks, lunch boxes, and school supplies to prepare local kids ages 4 to 16 years for the upcoming school year. Whether kids will be back in school, in-person or choose e-learning being prepared with supplies is critical to their success.
We are asking our local community to show up big time once again! Please utilize HCC's Amazon Wish List, to safely purchase and mail backpacks and supplies to their front door, where volunteers will fill each backpack with age-appropriate school supplies. Collection bins are also available to rally your business, team, or neighborhood to make sure over 800 kids are served!
"People ask me every year, "Why do you collect backpacks?" Because every year we meet kids like 8-year-old Audrey, who, after picking out a pink backpack with blue hearts, put it on her back and did not take it off. This was her very first, brand new backpack ever! She asked me three times if it was really hers to keep? What a joy it was to bend down, look her in her eye and tell her with a smile "this pink backpack was delivered just for you!"
To find HCC's Back-2-School information and Amazon link please visit: https://harvestcompassioncenter.org/
or email Lauren Sullivan, email@example.com directly for any collection bin needs.
New Pathways for Youth
New Pathways for Youth is a youth centered organization that is supporting youth like Eduardo to achieve possibilities beyond his current reality.
Eduardo shares a small apartment with his parents, two brothers and one sister – all of which are either working from home or learning from home. This makes finding a quiet place to focus nearly impossible. He shares a room with his brother who often is watching TV or playing video games while Eduardo is in class.
Eleni, Eduardo’s mentor, makes sure she checks in with Eduardo several times a week – usually through texting and some phone calls. This keeps them connected and focused through the challenges and reminds Eduardo he has a caring mentor – and a whole community at New Pathways that is invested in his journey. Together with their case manager at New Pathways, they are tapping into Eduardo’s strengths while also encouraging him to try new solutions.
He recently had a conversation with his brother where he told him how difficult it is for him to focus on school and asked if he would consider using headphones or working out a schedule of quiet hours for Eduardo to get his schoolwork done. The simple request not only empowered Eduardo to use his voice, but also helped nurture his relationship with this brother.
Another horizon that is starting to expand is learning about scholarships and financial aid. Eduardo had always put limits on his career goals because he didn’t think he couldn’t afford higher education. Through New Pathways and Eleni, they are creating a plan to eliminate this barrier as well.
Next up, he and Eleni will be taking advantage of the college tours New Pathways arranges every year. They will be checking out both ASU and Phoenix College to see what opportunities open up from there.
If you would like to learn more about New Pathways for Youth and how to become in inspirational mentor like Eleni, visit our website and sign up to attend one of our weekly virtual Mentor Introduction sessions. https://npfy.org/get-involved/