Today we’re talking about the power of the words conceive, believe, and achieve in the lives of people in every life circumstance.
I’m calling this show today “Conceive, Believe, Achieve” because that is the motto of a group called Rise Up Industries, and their purpose is helping men getting out of prison to survive and not be among the statistics of far too many that return to a life of crime.
Today’s guest, Leslie Willis, works with Rise Up Industries and is the editor of “Writing After Life: Stories from Those Who Served a Life Sentence,” a book of true stories written by formerly incarcerated individuals about their childhoods, transformations in prison, and the challenges and rewards of receiving a second chance at life.
Leslie joins me today to discuss helping to break the cycles of incarceration and recidivism and how we can find our common humanity through the sharing of stories.
- Coping with a loss, hardship, or tragedy that we struggle with accepting or making sense of
- How acceptance is a powerful healer and why it’s necessary before we can move to recovery
- What people can do to help those who are incarcerated and/or those re-entering society
- How Rise Up Industries helps train, employ, and mentor formerly incarcerated individuals
- Why an individual’s childhood often plays a huge role in how and where they end up in life
- Breaking the cycle of incarceration and recidivism and helping to transition back into society
- How stories help us transform our perspectives of the world and build a greater connection
“Working inside the prison itself, I am constantly blown away by the humanity I experience and just the resilience of these individuals to go through everything they’ve gone through and still be able to become a positive person and to have that sense of hope that they can keep moving forward. Despite all of these hurdles and roadblocks and challenges that society places upon them, they’re still able to hold their heads up and say, ‘I am not who I was before. I have done bad things, but I’m not a bad person.’” – Leslie Willis
Leslie Willis has worked in a variety of capacities and settings, but always finds herself drawn back to creating spaces for building community and understanding between individuals and groups of people with different backgrounds and experiences.
She has taught English in Malaysia as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, led program activities and excursions at the World Center for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in Mexico, and enhanced opportunities for school-aged youth in the Triangle region of North Carolina to learn life skills through playing the team sport of ultimate frisbee.
Leslie has a BA in Global Studies and Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an MA in Social Innovation from the University of San Diego. She also has a certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University.
Leslie is the editor of “Writing After Life: Stories from Those Who Served a Life Sentence,” a book of true stories written by formerly incarcerated individuals about their childhoods, transformations in prison, and the challenges and rewards of receiving a second chance at life.
She believes that stories have the power to transform our perspectives of the world and help us build greater understanding and human connection between the people and realities within it.
“We’ve all done things that we regret or wish we hadn’t done, but we’re not usually defined by it. And yet, oftentimes the individuals inside prison are being defined by the worst thing they’ve ever done. Even when they try to overcome that–when any of us try to overcome that–sometimes there are these additional barriers pushing back against us, making it even harder, and that’s a huge challenge for those who are experiencing incarceration.” – Leslie Willis
Check out the video below to watch our live, in-studio interview:
- Writing After Life: Stories From Those Who Served a Life Sentence by Leslie Willis, Angel Ramirez, Ernie Garcia, Joe Tapia, and Johnny Villa
- Contact Leslie at LeslieWillis@SanDiego.edu
- Freedom on the Inside
- Saying The Right Thing When You Don’t Know What To Say
- Grief… When Will This Pain Ever End?: A Guide to Finding Your Way Out of the Depths of Despair After Suffering Profound Loss
- Chakras, The Magnificent Seven
- If you have any questions or would like to book a session, contact Paula at (626)-864-0756
- Learn More About Host Paula Shaw
- Email Paula at Paula@ChangeItUpRadio.com
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