Let's Rescue Some Starfish!
Updated: Jan 21
Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them, for the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you; He will never fail you or abandon you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT
Every year 600,000 men and women return to our communities from incarceration. 95% of prisoners will one day return home. As a result of their criminal record, they face significant barriers in the process of re-entry, like housing, employment, and other elements to regain a productive life.
In addition to those barriers, they must work hard to develop a healthy mindset, build self-esteem, and become confident of their value and worth. However, for many, these barriers seem too big to overcome without assistance from others who believe in them more than they believe in themselves.
Many incarcerated veterans battle with PTSD and live in shame, and insecurity and struggle with persistent defeating thoughts. Each day these offenders serve time behind bars paying the penalty for the wrong decisions they once made. Regretfully, in most circumstances, they are not taught how to invest their time to prepare themselves for the future. They wait with anticipation for the long-awaited day of re-entry, however, most are not prepared for the obstacles and challenges they will face.
In the KPM Leadership Academy, we are training, preparing, and equipping these men. They are learning a new language as we teach them the language of leadership. They are challenged to stretch out of their comfort zone and shift their mindset. They are taught to think different, talk different, act different and make the necessary changes to take them from where they are, to where they want to be.
We encourage them to reframe their way of thinking to stop just doing their time but invest their time in learning, growing, and becoming the best version of themselves. We encourage them to not look back but look forward with the hope of a new future.
It is our belief that if men and women leave prison the same way they entered, then we have failed them and our society. Rehabilitation has to be a vital part of our job description! We must help change old patterns and instill new ones. Over time this will lower recidivism rates and help justice-involved offenders get a new start on a road to freedom and a chance at a new life.
This is a huge undertaking, but just like the story of the gentleman who was taking a walk early one morning down the beach. He was shocked to notice that overnight the tide had washed thousands and thousands of starfish upon the shore. The starfish were trapped laying in the sun and out of the water. Each one, desperately struggling to survive. The man quickly started picking them up, one by one, and began throwing them back into the ocean so they could live. He desired to do something to save their lives. A young man walked by him and said "what are you doing?" The gentleman replied, "I'm saving these starfish!" "You will never be able to save all these starfish," the young man replied. The gentlemen looked at him with a smile and said, "You're right, I'm sure I won't be able to save them all but, I can save this one, and this one, and this one,'" as he turned and continued throwing them back into the water!
Just like the trapped starfish, the task is big and the numbers are great. There are many who need help! However, we can only reach those who desire to change and are willing to put in the work to make a new life for themselves. We are committed to doing our part in handing them the tools to do the work of reformation. We know that nothing is impossible with God and if they give their life to Him, they can do anything!
We introduced our program, the KPM Leadership Academy to the maximum security prison located in Livingston, Texas also known as the death row unit. We specifically targeted the veteran group because they were struggling and their program had flatlined. In our first meeting with the leaders, we were asked if we could resurrect their program. At that moment we knew this was a divine appointment. We said, "we know someone that specializes in resurrections and we are willing to take on the challenge!"
The men have been motivated and inspired, but most importantly, they have demonstrated determination while weekly putting their greatest revelation into action.. We are not just teaching we are transforming! It is the application of the revelation where true change begins. They are inspired to listen to one another and help one another. Truth and transparency with other veterans are paramount at their transformation tables.
As part of the homework assignment, they are encouraged to apply an action step from that week's lesson. Applying these new principles to their daily routine brings transformation not only to them, but to their peers, and community, and many of them call and share these life-changing lessons with their spouses and children. Many are changing the power of their influence to bring about positive change in others.
In just a few weeks we will be graduating a class of 40 veterans from the KPM Leadership Academy "Beyond Success" course. They have had many obstacles to overcome during the duration of this class. So many things have been changing in our world and they have also felt the effects within the prison. We have seen great determination developing as they have been working their way through the academy. They have stayed persistent and have worked really hard and now it's time to celebrate their WIN!
The graduation will be held in the veteran's gym where they have over the years spent countless hours painting walls with military murals, flags, military branch symbols, etc. and making it their own. The only problem is they have no sound system or equipment to make this a sufficient meeting/classroom. Well together with our partners we took care of that!
We are happy to share that Kenton Pate Ministries, the KPM Leadership Academy, and you our faithful partners have donated some much-needed sound and video equipment to the veteran's program.
We were able to donate numerous pieces of quality sound equipment to the veteran's program. We gave two large B-52 speakers, two medium size speakers, a Mackey Power Amplifier, a 38-channel Fender mixer, a projector, a lapel mic, and microphones. The day they received it they were so grateful and immediately began arranging it and preparing to set it up and put it to work.
The next week when we arrived for class they had everything put in place. They had recruited one of the men that is an artist to paint the KPM Academy name with our logo on the large speakers and equipment. It was their way of showing us how committed they were to us and the academy. These men are now filled with purpose and are looking so forward to beginning the next course in the academy.
Currently, we have students already signed up for the next mastermind course, and the Beyond Success course will regenerate with a new group of leaders. They have been diligently reaching out to the veteran's group to recruit more students to be a part of the program. We are excited to hear the positive feedback and how the popularity of the academy is spreading within the prison even to the general population. We know that God is doing something great "behind the wire!"
Thank you partners for helping us bring hope to those veterans who feel forgotten!
Stay tuned!! Photos and an update on the graduation coming soon!!!