Giving Hope and Fulfillment to Those in Need of Redemption
More than two-million people are incarcerated in the United States. Each year, more than 650,000 of them are released, and while they will need to re-integrate into society, the question remains whether or not society – employers, neighbors, friends, and family – will accept them. Understanding this stigma after first volunteering in a prison sixteen years ago, Jo Dee Davis – a former teacher – founded Healing Broken Circles – an organization that provides “space for healing and learning for those touched by the justice system.”
“Jo Dee did something that everyone before her, including me, couldn’t do,” said Dan, an
inmate who has benefited from her work. “She looked past the tattoos that proclaimed my rage, past my flippant facade of indifference, and past the three-yard stare one acquires after six years alone in a cell for 23 hours a day. She saw me differently and convinced me, somehow, to do the same.”
By treating inmates as people and not as criminals, Healing Broken Circles provides a variety of programs from yoga and meditation to Spanish lessons and theater classes – all opportunities for inmates to gain skills and find meaning in their lives.
“Most people have a view of prison and prisoners that they aren’t of value. I’m told by a lot of people that these guys aren’t worth it,” Jo Dee explains. “To me, it doesn’t matter what anybody did. I’m not about the past. It’s about who you are now and where you want to go in the future.”
Reflecting on the $100,000 prize awarded to her by The KIND Foundation as part of its KIND People program, she says, “Kindness involves thinking about another person. Kindness involves acting from your heart. Being kind is an action.”
Of Jo Dee, KIND Founder & CEO Daniel Lubetzky says, “Her ability to look past what these men have done and focus instead on who they can become is a true manifestation of kindness. In 16 years of doing this work, Jo Dee has never been recognized. KIND and The KIND Foundation are proud to celebrate her selflessness.”
This sponsored story is presented in collaboration with The KIND Foundation.