Saturday, May 18, 2019

Graduating Defy Ventures by Jeff aka Ruth Utnage

On October 16, 2018 I began a life altering journey that would challenge me in ways I was not prepared for. A curriculum that's over 1100 pages and four workbooks, 7 months of twice a week classes, writing business concept summaries in between lessons of forgiveness and family connections. One guy, as a result of a family connection chapter, wrote one of his nine sisters whom he has estranged from for over 3 decades and she replied and reconnected with him. When he sat down next to me in class the next morning he just cried.

Over half the original class quit. We began with 50 and went to graduation on May 16th with 23. I realized there is a lot of excuses people use to not be successful. Both in and out of prison. I met business owners, men and women, who came in here and shared their most precious possession with us, experience.

We have this exercise, called "Step To The Line", where our sponsor asks questions that if the apply to you, step to the line. Inmates are one side, volunteers on the other and as questions like "Step to the line if you grew up with violence in your home", its just one of many like it, and you step to the line and across from you is someone with tears streaming down their face. It's quite the moving experience.

I got to dispel some myths about prison and prisoners. Lockup Raw paints a morbid picture that only benefits their bank accounts, they would never have the courage to cover a scene like Defy Ventures because it negates the macabre, terrifying, dangerous, blood thirsty, weak image of the modern prisoner that they try to instill in your mind as the public.

More importantly, people believe in us, it's okay if you do too. One thing I took away from my graduation is that people believe in me, I may not have won the Business Plan Pitch Competition, but I sure as hell met some awesome people who if I run into when I am a free woman, I can take comfort in knowing we shared at least one genuine moment together. I like that.

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With Love
Jeff aka Ruth Utnage

Mail To:
Jeff aka Ruth Utnage 823469 D-610-2
MCC-TRU
P.O. Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272

or email through jpay.com
DOC: 823469
Name: Utnage, Jeff (though I am legally Ruth)

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1 comment:

  1. Ruth, meeting and getting to know you a little was the highlight of my experience with Defy. --Dan

    ReplyDelete

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