Saragoza, 43

Saragoza, 43

Meet Saragoza…

If a loved one is not in a good space, I give them positive reinforcement and make them laugh. Then, tell them all the reasons I appreciate them and why they are a rockstar!

Saragoza, 43
Incarcerated: 14 years
Housed: California Men’s Colony, San Luis Obispo, California

My struggle began as a baby when my father was gunned down near where I was born. The judge threw the book at me and sentenced me to 335 years to life. The ultimate kicker, I was charged as an aider and abettor. I know what you’re thinking, and no I was nowhere near the crimes. My son was five months old at the time. I was destined for ten lifetimes in Pelican Bay’s Solitary Housing Unit (SHU). In 2013, we did a big hunger strike to end long term solitary confinement. I lasted a long 18 days and was released. Now I love to read and I have learned to remain positive and how to refocus my thought process to happiness, love, joy and prosperity. I was never a negative person and I was only a social drug and alcohol user. I exercise every day to clear my thoughts. I meditate every morning. I read positive spiritual material. I draw, write and listen to all types of music that takes me away from here 😜 I have become and enjoy being a motivator to those in my life. I’m into building people up in all aspects of life. I want to help them better themselves or their circumstances by giving genuine love and support. I’m happy being able to contribute to their happiness, to me that’s what love is. You know what I do if a loved one is not in a good space: I give them positive reinforcement. Then I make them laugh and tell them all the reasons I appreciate them and why they are a rockstar! As far as romantic love, well my superpower is to fall in love like it’s the first time all over again, every single morning I wake up. Yet, snail mail and 15 minute phone calls can’t compete with social media. So I have to fall in love with my imagination and dream woman. I remain steadfast on my journey to help others stay focused on positive and productive things. Thank you for your attention in reading my story and thoughts. I wish and want the best for everyone. Big love always ~ Santos

Danny, 33

Danny, 33

Meet Danny…

Upon my release I want to have my own youth ministry. I can empathize with the youth because of what I lacked and experienced growing up. I just wish there was a program like mine that could have reached out to me and shared their experiences so I wouldn’t have come to prison.

Incarcerated: 14

Housed: California Men’s Colony, San Luis Obispo

I found my passion and purpose in life by being part of a youth diversion program in prison. When I was asked to get involved, I really hesitated. I didn’t like public speaking. I felt it wasn’t for me. With much persistence and persuasion, I decided to be in the program. A supposed friend asked me to join, yet didn’t believe I would be an asset to the group. To be honest, I was offended and hurt for two reasons, one because he was my brother in Christ and two, he said it behind my back. Little did he know, I love challenges. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t have found my purpose in life. At first I was doing it for the wrong reasons. I believe when you are called to do something great you will face opposition for the impact that is to come. My thought process was to receive my certificate and jump to the next class. Little did I know, it was a never ending class with no certificates. Three years in and I was feeling like I wasn’t making an impact. I was very close to dropping out until Kyle, 15 and Tim, 16 walked into my life. Following my presentation, the Probation Officer thanked me and said I had an impact on them. I will never forget that feeling. To know my labor was not in vain, I felt rich. At 25, I ended up being one of the best speakers. As a youth offender, I was able to reach the youth. They always asked for me, which was an honor. This is why I created Challenging and Helping Adolescents Navigate Change by Educating for Success, CHANCES, I want to continue to give back to the youth. They are our future. Kobe Bryant said, “Our youth tends to get the short end of the stick in terms of the investment that is poured into them. Instead, it should be the opposite because they are our future.” Upon my release I want to have my own youth ministry. I can empathize with the youth because of what I lacked and experienced growing up. I just wish there was a program like mine that could have reached out to me and shared their experiences so I wouldn’t have come to prison.

Dennis, 54

Dennis, 54

Meet Dennis…

I am currently employed as an ADA worker earning eleven cents an hour. I assist old and disabled inmates seven days a week, earning $17 dollars a month. I want another chance at life.

Incarcerated: 27 years
Housed: California Men’s Colony, San Luis Obispo

I am incarcerated for attempted murder. Twenty seven years later, I am on my way to my first board hearing in June. In which, no one is ever granted suitability at their first hearing. I am prepared to be denied parole. However, the timing is perfect because I do not have a strong support network that would put me in good standing with the board commissioners. I would like to seek and build a support network from the outside world to help prepare for my hearing. The CDCR has never offered inmates meaningful training or job trades to prepare us to survive in the 21st high-tech world upon release. Prior to prison, I dibbled and dabbled in the electrical field but never earned any certifications. I was self-taught. In every prison, I have run an electrical service hustle from my cell. This is what I want to do when I get out. Is there anybody willing to properly teach me electronic repair straight out of prison? A lot of basketball players are drafted into the NBA straight out of high school. Why not hire me for a job straight out of prison? I am currently employed as an ADA worker earning eleven cents an hour. I assist old and disabled inmates seven days a week, earning $17 dollars a month. I want another chance at life.

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