Photo by Tony Cece

Friday, July 4, 2014

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Our days are quickly coming to an end and now we stand with just one day left to continue making a difference one person at a time. Today one group marched into uncharted territory where Smiles had yet to go, the penitentiary. The eagerness for the group to learn was evident from the start. Dr. Keyes and Mark presented on PTSD with adults. Our time only allotted for two group sessions, but the members soaked up every minute of it. The three groups each talked about how receptive the group members were to learn different techniques that they had never been exposed to.  Deep breathing, safe place, the shield, and tapping were among some of the techniques that were taught. The members included people from various backgrounds of counseling from school counselors, prison psychologists, police psychologists, parole officers, and private practitioners. After our time with the group sessions, we took a tour of the penitentiary. The inside of the penitentiary was just as surprising as the outside was. Throughout the walls there were paintings hand made from inmates that were incomparable to paintings from professionals, they were absolutely beautiful. Painting is not the only talent the inmates have with their hands, they are also very skilled with crafts and make things such as jewelry boxes and small boats. There was also a beautiful church filled with paintings. Surprisingly the inmates that were getting ready to be put on parole played a key aspect in helping us with transportation of one of the members of our team with a wheelchair.

The other group was at Rapa where they had the opportunity to do a VBS which entailed drama skits as well as praise and worship. Our team also rolled up there sleeves got into the kitchen and cooked lunch for the community. Upon arriving there the group had just a few minutes to prepare the lesson for the VBS and the skit; our group as a whole is quickly learning the skill of thinking on their feet and jumping right in without hesitation. Along with VBS this group also had an opportunity to work with families individually and provide counseling support. Each environment that we have been placed in has made us keenly aware that what we have to offer is enough. Today the adults got an opportunity to be part of the arts and crafts and embrace being children again. At the young of 16 or 17 some of these adults already had a couple of kids, forcing them to grow up quicker, but today they had a chance to laugh and use as many stickers as they wanted for their crafts! It’s small differences like these that go a long way.

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