Pass It On Seminar

By · Saturday, April 12th, 2008

Description of my participation in dynamic personal growth seminar, Pass It On, at Taft Camp, led by Scott Evans.

As a long-term prisoner I am grateful for every opportunity to learn and interact with society. Yesterday, on April 11, 2008, I felt fortunate to attend a three-hour personal growth seminar that administrators at Taft Camp coordinated. This meaningful program introduced concepts that added real value to the lives of each participant.

Scott Evans, a film producer and leader of the Pass It On movement, volunteered his time to coordinate a learning seminar for 50 inmates. His dynamic presentation inspired those of us in the audience to realize we had power within us, despite our confinement, as we could take steps to become more balanced and accomplished individuals. By contributing to the lives of others, Scott showed us how we could actively participate in the advancement of society and thereby enrich our own lives.

When I saw a sign-up sheet for the seminar on a prison bulletin board, I didn’t really know what to expect. The notice announced a class on entrepreneurship. As I arrived at the room where the class was scheduled to take place, however, I discovered that a community leader would be suggesting strategies that would lead to more fulfilling lives. So the lesson would not be on balance sheets, income statements, or managing business ventures, as I would have anticipated from a class on entrepreneurship. Instead, this seminar would offer more lasting value by introducing steps we could take to enrich the world around us. This was a gift I could appreciate.

Scott’s Pass It On organization leads these types of personal growth seminars to audiences across the continent, and our prison’s chaplain had attended one in Toronto. Impressed with Scott’s presentation, the chaplain told Scott about Taft Camp. This effort to help others grow and reach their highest potential may not be religious in nature, though it is a kind of ministry. Together, our chaplain at Taft and Scott coordinated the Pass It On seminar for inmates confined here.

We listened as Scott described effective steps for a pursuit of happiness. He encouraged us to embrace concepts like living in a state of gratitude, helping others find meaning and direction in their lives, using goals and action plans. Those were proven methods to succeed, and Scott bolstered his message by showing an inspirational film that he produced.

The film featured personal anecdotes from individuals who made enormous contributions to society and achieved extraordinary levels of success. Some were business leaders who employed tens of thousands. Others were world-class athletes. Authors, entertainers, and professional speakers offered testimonials describing how living by universal laws of success empowered their lives with a rejuvenating energy. Through that energy, those spokespeople told how they willed happiness and fulfillment into their lives.

Following the film and our discussion, the participants broke into smaller groups to explore how we as inmates could incorporate those principles into our adjustment through confinement. The chaplain facilitated the discussion for my group; his sincerity and interest in the unique challenges that accompany imprisonment impressed me.

I have more than 20 years of imprisonment behind me. As a consequence of relying upon the concepts that Scott teaches through his Pass It On Seminars, I have been blessed with many gifts. For example, publishers distribute books I have written internationally. National media attention has brought thousands into my growing network of support. Most importantly, I enjoy a thriving marriage despite the limitations of confinement.

By allowing Scott Evans to teach his program to offenders confined at Taft Camp, our chaplain and this administration sew seeds of hope. This level of support encourages me, as I thirst for meaningful opportunities to connect with society and prepare for the challenges that will accompany my re-entry. I hope to learn from and contribute to more growth opportunities in the future. And through powerful programs like Pass It On, I hope to see more offenders join my commitment to prepare for law-abiding and meaningful lives upon release.

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