Thursday, September 29, 2016

How You Can Help

There are many ways you can help. Though financial contributions are needed, money doesn't fix everything, you do. What's needed most is your heart. Below is the many ways you can contribute:

1) Volunteer at you local institution. Every prison has an LGBT community and even if they don't have a current program to support them, most facilities should welcome the idea. I can help with this by providing anyone my initial proposal that was approved by my facility.

2) Volunteer at the local schools. Reaching kids before they make bad decisions is ideal. You can contact your local school district and tell them you would like to mentor LGBT kids. Its needed now more then ever. Mentorship often involves listening, something kids lack the most in their lives. Having an open and affirming adult in their lives who is consistent and caring can and will make significant differences later in life. Especially when you consider their home lives may be in turmoil.

3) Send articles and information. By this I mean anything inspirational, educational or preventative. We need materials on drug rehabilitation, stress relief, suicide prevention, prostitution recovery, religious materials, positive messages of any sort, LGBT stats of all sorts, short stories etc. Anything that provokes emotional experiences within.

4) Send books! If you can afford to do so, you can send us books. There are restrictions on this, books must be sent directly from a vendor such as amazon.com or Barnes And Noble and they must be new. My facility will reject them otherwise. Literature of all types is welcomed. I will donate it to our library once I'm done reading it and if its self help we will probably use its message for our groups personal growth. I welcome all reading levels and genres. Though, educational, historical and self help literature is needed most. However, don't be shy to send thought provoking fiction that relates to the LGBT community somehow. 

5) We need financial contributions donated directly to our facility LGBTI account. We will be holding a Pride Event in June of 2017 and we will need enough money in their to cover the cost of meals for all attendees and perhaps some creative materials for decor. It will be our second annual Pride event and in June of 2016 we made Washington State history with DOC's first EVER LGBT Pride Event, with your financial contributions this will be possible for a second and third year!!

6) Letters of support! Do you know someone in prison? Did you know that a simple letter of how your doing can change someone's life? Simply telling us how your doing is such a blessing. Your testimonial is important too, hearing how you have overcome adversity is equally powerful. Many of us in here face segregation, hate and bigotry. 

7) Send us your ideas for group building exercises. Exercises we can do as a group that will strengthen us both emotionally and mentally. Perhaps it with stir some inner dialogue that will lead someone to want to change their lives, maybe you just want to recommend a program? Tell us! 

8) Religious safe zones! There is so much turmoil over religion and anything LGBT. If you have any type of religious materials, advice or pastoral care you can give, that is perhaps the most important element. As a Christian man in prison, I am not welcome in the main church here because I am openly gay. Tell us what churches are open and affirming to the LGBT community, what mosques, what temples...etc.

9) Any type of support you can think of! Be sure to watch for arts and crafts we will be making for fundraising! I welcome all ideas and suggestions and critiques! 

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