This morning I received two letters.

The first is from a young man I’ve known for many years. He and I exchange letters every few weeks. Today’s letter contained a thick round object. It’s a 1 1/2 inch brass graduate coin for successful completion of a New Dimensions Alcohol & Drug Treatment Program. A year ago he was in a bad place, believed God and his family had forsaken him.

In this letter, he wrote, “It’s a good day for me today. I’m proud of myself today, I have not been proud of myself in a very long time. But today I’m very proud. I just wish all my kids could see how happy I am today.” He is scheduled for release on June 22, 2016. He has a job waiting and we are currently searching for an apartment for him. He asked me to hold the coin for him until he gets home.
For some, writing is a natural gift. In the intellectual world of syntax, metaphors, tactile or abstract imagery, and countless other craft tools, this young man, without being taught, speaks to the heart.

Many of the letters I’ve received carry a chilling message of life behind bars. A message I believe “at risk” youths will listen to. A future project I hope to work with him on is to publish a collection of his letters and have him speak to young people.

Graduate Coin

The second letter is a card and poem from a very gifted young author with whom I’ve worked for several years. You can learn more about her poetry collection, Where is Reality? at

A stanza from the poem she sent this morning, “Kindred Writers” written in Acrostic rondeau form —

God helped me achieve
Th’ beginning
Of my dream, authoring,
By sending
Th’ right subjects, as
We share our growth, spiritual.
We knowst th’ art of
The quill….

Sarah and I are currently in the process of publishing her second book. I marvel at her brilliance. She sees each day as a gift from God.

And I’m humbled that the incarcerated young man who has seen so much, and done so much, has reached a point in his life where he trusts to share his heart with me.

As I glissade the western slope of life it’s vindicating to know, before I wipe out, that I’ve made a difference.


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