WHAT IS THE LIFE CHANGERS PROGRAM?
The Life Changers program, led by former lifers, consists of twelve intense and comprehensive counseling workshops designed to reverse anti-social and “post prison trauma” behaviors which will make possible a realistically successful transition for the newly released.
Mission and Activities
The Life Changers program mission is to connect with the newly released prisoner to provide a safety net of healing and positive re-direction that professionals often ignore or overlook.
Program Directors are formerly incarcerated long term lifers who conduct and participate in a series of twelve (12) intensive workshops. They are trained to be keenly sensitive to post-incarceration trauma, pre-recidivist signs, self-destructive triggers as well as anti-social symptomology, which exhibits itself in the frustration festering inside the newly released person.
Week 1: Introductions. Anecdotal presentations. “Telling your Story” (autobiographical history). Express highlights and low points of your life.
Week 2: Initial self inventory followed by initial mandatory ‘hot seat’ session.
Week 3: Paranoia, hostility and post prison trauma.
Week 4: Anti-social/race, crime, gang loyalties and identifications.
Week 5: Self-destructive triggers.
Week 6: Pushing past ego.
Week 7: Highlights: The moment you turned yourself around.
Week 8: Post prison trauma, paranoia, hostility review.
Week 9: Working together, bringing each other up, yielding to each other, teamwork.
Week 10: Making professional presentations and positive impressions.
Week 11: Final ‘hot seat’ inventory.
Week 12: Planning/Strategy session. Loyalty to the group. Dedication as a Life Changer.
Post Traumatic Incarceration Syndrome related to long terms of incarceration is beginning to be recognized as a factor in successful reintegration into society, or one’s community and as a factor in recidivism. As an organization with a large base of former lifers, our members saw an immediate need to address to problem thru our life changers program, and the subsequent work of our organization.
Professionals in the field have attempted to address the issue, but with all their professional knowledge their relationship with former prisoners is always going to be limited by their understanding and their views.
In 2018, we began our first Life Changers’ workshops for youth. We are targeting youth who live with the daily trauma of living in South Central Los Angeles, poorly funded schools, little after school activities, no jobs but Mc Jobs, and where shooting death and injuries are the norm.
HOW TO BECOME A LIFE CHANGER
Life Changers are trained to be keenly sensitive to post- incarceration trauma, pre-recidivist signs, self-destructive triggers as well as anti-social symptomology which exhibits itself in the frustration festering inside the newly released person.
Life Changers provides a safety net of healing and positive re-direction that many professionals often overlook or ignore. The frustration described above creates a common thread of complaint among the newly released and therefore becomes the primary focus Life Changers is determined to address. We have the skill, experience and training to stop the deadly spin of that wheel of prison recidivism, community destruction, and family loss that has decimated our communities.
The process to officially become a Life Changer is to undergo and complete an intense 90-day orientation period, during which participants will attend (12) twelve training workshops. These workshops will each be an hour and a half long, and will take place once a week. We will give each program participant a $30 stipend at the end of each workshop to help with basic needs.
Workshops will address realistic self-reevaluation, positive self-talk and the power of growth. The 12th workshop will engage the group in helping each group member determine their individual strengths, weaknesses, skills, talents, and progress in implementing personal goals set during previous workshop sessions
The final step in the process is for each group member to come before a Membership Review Board for final evaluation. If the evaluation is favorable, the program member will officially become a Life Changer. He or she will then get a copy of the group’s by-laws, and initial work assignment and duty schedule. S/he will receive $150.00 upon completion of the program.
They will have access to community work assignments and support as begin to live their lives with purpose, practical success and meaning.
CHANGING THE LIVES OF YOUTH
Youth in our community deal with trauma as if it’s the norm. They are in every sense of the word an Endangered Species. Thoughts of higher education and meaningful careers do not enter their minds as those are not part of their world. Our goal through Life Changers is to change their norm and elevate their outlook!
We intend to have ongoing groups of eight to ten youth who will go through the Life Changers Program. Those 15-24 year old persons who successfully graduate from our program become LIFE CHANGERS!
Mark Cofield grew up in South Central Los Angeles, where as a youth, he was introduced to a Los Angeles based street gang known as the Crips. This gang lifestyle led to him to serving over 30 years of incarceration throughout his juvenile and adult life. Now he’s a proud member of Fair Chance Project (FCP) and the co-director of the Life Changers program. Working with FCP has given him the opportunity to have a positive impact on a community that he once impacted in a negative way.
Raymond Flynn came to South Central Los Angeles from Memphis, Tennessee at the age of 10. Within two short years, his life was upended. His older brother joined a street gang and Raymond, barely 12 years of age, followed his lead. Following a street code of “ethics”, Raymond was involved in a gang related murder that cost other young men their lives and sent Raymond to prison for 32 years. He was 16 years old. Raymond spent a lot of time inside working on himself and began to see that “Street Life” was filling a void that was left by a father he never knew. He came home determined to have an impact on the youth. He graduated from the 4th Life Changers series and will co-lead the first Youth Life Changers program.
Contact Mark Cofield to inquire: 310.677.7445