Fundraiser: YWCA & World Hunger Relief
November 10th, 2010
Students in The Psychology Club at the College of Mount St. Joseph have come up with an innovative approach to investing their talent and energy.
Here’s the announcement.
The club’s current fundraiser hopes to have a pro-active, three-plus-prong effect. The fundraising will benefit women and children victimized by domestic violence, while also helping provide the nutrient-packed, Plumpy ‘nut to hungry children in other parts of the world.
What this actually reveals is the students’ understanding that, in order to help facilitate change, it’s important to find the right collaborators. They are wise to enlist the support of RED! technical advisor, William Lambers, whose singular approach to addressing world hunger has brought about major collaborative initiatives with government officials, humanitarians, and private sector organizers alike.
The news announcement is a high priority and it’s very do-able. I heartily commend The Psychology Club for showing such vigor and potential, and for using some of the best strategies available for reaching out to these necessary causes.
They, along with Bill Lambers and the World Food Programme, are making us pay attention.
In the nine months we have published RED! the breakthrough ‘zine, how has impacted readers? We know the webzine has certainly deeply affected one reader, and we are most grateful to her for letting us know.
I’m going to let you read a letter from former inmate James Dayton, whom our reader wrote after being moved by one of Mr. Dayton’s essays. He wrote me in return. I said, “I don’t actually know who ‘Mary’ is, but I’m glad she wrote you.” The woman left Mr. Dayton no return address, which mattered not. He was touched that his writing helped this mother connect with her incarcerated son in a most miraculous way.
We feature a series of new short essays by James Dayton in this winter 2009 issue of RED! You can also read his last essay to ever be published in the “Action Words” section – writing from inmates. He was released from Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio on January 10, 2009. He called me on January 12. That’s the most precious call I’ve received this year so far.
In celebration of Mr. Dayton’s release and his dedication to RED!, we feature “Three by Jimmy D.” as a Main Feature.
We’ve been fortunate to be the only publishers of Mr. Dayton’s pieces. For now, here’s Jimmy’s letter in which he reflects on RED!’s reach in just these last nine months:
“A Letter from Mary”
by James Dayton
Yesterday, I received a letter from someone I don’t know. There was no return address on it – only the name ‘Mary’.
She said that she read my testimony and other writings. She didn’t mention where she got them, only that the Lord ministered to her when she read them. I felt blessed.
Mary said her son is in prison and that she has cut all ties with him. She said that she felt her son was a lost cause and that all he brought her was pain and heartache. She just couldn’t take it any longer and didn’t want to deal with it.
I could feel Mary’s pain and the love she had for her son. She said that after she read my testimony, the Lord touched her heart and all she could think about was her boy. Wonderful memories flooded her mind. She prayed on it for days and then wrote him a letter and sent him my testimony.
She told him that if this man can change his life, so can you. Well, Mary got a letter back from her son telling her that he had turned his life over to Christ and was baptized two months earlier. She said that his letter was full of hope and she could feel her son was “back.” She said that her letters and phone calls with him have blessed her, and she’s going to visit him soon.
Mary thanked me for sharing my life with others and said my testimony helped her get her son back.
Mary, if you read this, I want you to know that it’s not my testimony that will edify others. It’s yours. When I read your letter, I cried and gave praise to the Lord. What a wonderful God we serve. In him all things are possible.
What a great work he did. He put your son in a place where he could reach out to him, and once he touched his heart he also touched yours. Thank you for your letter, Mary. It’s so special when we can see God working in our hearts and lives. He has truly worked in yours and your letter has worked in mine.
Brothers and sisters, I want you to know that in Christ it’s our duty to influence the world around us, to be obedient to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. In our love for one another and in our testimonies, Christ shines through and others find peace.
I urge you all to send in your stories, testimonies, and writing wherever you are – in prison, in jail, it doesn’t matter.
You can do the Father’s work from anywhere. You can share God with the world from a prison cell. Just reach out and God will make a way.
God bless you, Mary. God bless you all.
Since April and our launch of RED!, so many outstanding stories revolving around our mission to profile positive stories of transformation in the lives of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals have surfaced. So much positive news has emerged.
So many stories that beg to be told will clearly only be told in RED!
The webzine continues to break new ground. This issue features (an amazing) 17 essays, poems, and artwork by incarcerated individuals as far away as California. Each week, RED! is making contact with new prisons. We’re covering more ground now with more stories.
And the stories keep coming. I’m most proud to champion those new essays, poems, and artwork by incarcerated individuals. They know their voices can be heard through RED! The positive life changes that these individuals have experienced are laid out here boldly and with a brilliancy that will make you not only want to print out the pieces, but read them several times.
Savor also the tremendous journalism of Brenda Huff, RED!’s East Coast correspondent, and Christine Grote, our web editor. Brenda and Christine, along with columnists Paulette Lewis, Tiffany Peterson, and Khalil Osiris, continue to be my go-to writers, the stalwart anchors of this publication.
By the way, we congratulate Tiffany on her recent marriage! She’ll be back with us soon.
The other new mainstay is the gifted Belinda C. Her “Re-entry Chronicles” are becoming perhaps the most important feature in RED! She’s one of the most positive people I know. Since her release from prison after serving a 20-year sentence, her leadership skills are blossoming, too. I’m personally going to be writing more about Belinda in the near future.
If you read our stories closely – and please do – you are now surely seeing that RED! is the most unique publication in the world as its diverse content shares these stories that no one else will cover with such depth and bravura. I could not ask for a better staff, and I could not ask for more perceptive, comprehensive writing.
I will keep shaking up the conventional wisdom of internet publishing. It’s considered a bad idea to publish extremely long stories on the web – or in a ‘zine. I respect that opinion, and we have some short articles. Yet, writers like Brenda and Christine are diving so deeply into their stories that their “unheard of” length merits, without question, a kind of award-winning attention. In other words, the scope of RED!’s journalism is often deep and exploratory.
We take matters of transformation, life changes, and innovative programs dealing with incarceration or re-entry very seriously, to the point that we will take you, the reader, into territory that gives you a fully honest view of the place, person, or programs covered in the story.
That said, I am proud of my writers. I’m proud of my columnists, and I’m proud of the honesty with which they write.
Since I last wrote, RED!’s multimedia presence has taken on a life of its own. We’ve grown all the sections, especially “Turn It” and “Stand Up”, providing a marvelous assortment of video, mp3 audio, and Slide Shows. In this issue, innovators and artists Saad Ghosn, Lynda Crane, Ron White, and Marge Kloos offer spectacular views via video or mp3. In a video clip featuring formerly incarcerated person, Corina Evans, her views on re-entry basically validate the whole meaning of RED! the breakthrough ‘zine. Incredible. Don’t miss Corina.
On behalf of RED!’s staff, I thank you for reading. I thank you for going to my blog and reading about these fresh, behind-the-scenes observations that I’ll keep sharing with you. My staff and I thank you for your support. We appreciate your telling others about RED! (keep passing the word), and we appreciate your comments and news updates, so that we can be even more attuned to stories we need to cover.
Bottom line: we are a thankful bunch. Your taking such valuable time to read RED! is not lost on this editor.
RED! the breakthrough ‘zine dedicates issue #2 to the life and work of Edward C. Eckel, a longtime friend and colleague.
Ed Eckel was a champion of educators, students, and learning in a wide range of capacities. The beloved husband of Shauna (Sullivan) Eckel, of Willoughby, Ohio, Ed died at the age of 69 on February 29, 2008. He worked for over 42 years in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education after receiving his M.Ed. and B.A. from the University of Cincinnati.
Ed dedicated his life to the education of others: Executive Director of Admissions at the College of Mount St. Joseph, Principal and Associate Principal of Oak Hills High School, math teacher, and basketball coach. Having received such honors as “Educator of the Year,” “Exemplary Educator,” “Teacher Touches Lives,” “Honorary Admission Counselor,” from the U.S. Naval Academy, and “The Maroon Award of Western Hills High School” which recognizes lifetime service of distinguished alumni.
Ed Eckel’s passing will be felt by many. He was the brother of Robert Eckel, M.D.; esteemed uncle of ten nieces and nephews; and was preceded in death by his loving father and mother, Harold Eckel and Ruth Andree. Ed was a constant supporter of me and my writing, publishing, teaching, and speaking of RED! He was one of the great minds in education that I have ever known. And he was a kind, joyous friend. There was no end to Ed’s friends or his positive impact on so many of them.
Forthcoming inmate book
I could not have been more surprised.
I never expected to awaken at 2:00 a.m. in 2005 with a vision.
So, when I tried to go back to sleep, after trying to grasp the essentials of what you’re actually reading here in RED!’s first issue, I simply thanked God for the jolt. I was excited about a something I couldn’t clearly see.
I suspected it had to be an awakening of some degree, because ever since I got an idea of what this webzine might be, I’ve not gone one day without thinking about it, about its potential, or about the stories we’re destined to cover across the world.
Even when I was in the middle of another wonderful yet frustrating writing project from 2005-2007, I thought constantly about the webzine: how could I gather writers? The help? Where were the stories? What reach could the publication have? Would the writing be online?
I’ve spent the last seven years mentoring formerly incarcerated individuals or volunteer teaching in prisons and jails. In the process of upgrading my knowledge of the criminal justice system, I’ve met many people affiliated with the System (whether incarcerated or not) whose work, lives, achievements, and stories are as amazing and miraculous as one can imagine. I’ve written, edited, and published in numerous genres and, since the 1980s, have applied any small skills that I have as a writer toward helping other writers. I’ve been a (literary) magazine editor. I cut my teeth early, and I intend to pile most all my life-long “training” into RED!
The news stories I’ve come across need your attention. They deserve to be spun through your printer. Forward them to friends. It’s as if God has said, “Jeff, now get ‘em out, these stories. Get them down. Alert the world to what I’ve been doing. A lot of these people have been written off, cast aside, glossed over. We’re not forgetting them.”
We held our first RED! brainstorming meeting two years ago. We held our first editorial meeting in January 2007. Here we are.
I thank my friend Steve Sjogren, editor of Serve! webzine (www.serve-others.com) and senior pastor of Coastland Tampa (www.coastlandtampa.com) for suggesting the title, RED! on a cold day at Chipotle restaurant in West Chester, Ohio. It’s a vivid, evocative color, the color of transformation.
Recently I heard a talk radio host say, “I really wish I could read more Comeback Stories. I think we need them.”
You could say RED! is full of “Comeback Stories.”
RED! has feature stories, columns, five key departments: Phasing Up [news], The Zone [listings of ministries and outreach programs], Stand Up [interviews], Turn It [reviews, blogs, podcasts, and webcasts], Action Words [poetry, stories, and artwork by inmates], and a special section: The Psychology of Incarceration.
“The Zone” will blossom each month, as more and more we receive news and contacts from programs that are helping incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals. Soon, The Zone will have its international scope.
I’m proud that I could share my vision with several instrumental big-hearted friends and family members who have given RED! its pulse. I thank Cheryl and Chelsea Hillard, Christine Grote, William and Betty Hillard, Jacqui Slabach, Cheryl McKee, Greg Goldschmidt, Amy Storer (www.cincychic.com), Joe Kruessel, Heidi Smith, Khalil Osiris, DeRon Smith, Kristi Jacobsen, Joan Green, Joe Daugherty, and Erin and Matt Campbell for their perpetual brilliance. I thank all those who were at the early meetings logging hours of input. Christine Grote’s long hours of editing and designing are a true reason you’re reading RED!
I thank each writer in this issue for penning his or her words. I cherish every word. Wait until you read future issues. Talk about amazing.
I look for news, stories, leads, and responses from you readers to start rolling in. RED! writers will gradually be traveling to gather stories. We have forthcoming correspondents in South America, India, Russia, and Africa.
RED! is a quarterly, with email updates regularly. We plan three issues in 2008, since we’re launching in March. We encourage you to consider donating to the publication. There is nothing quite like it out there. Not in the way this set-up and range exists.
RED! is a non-profit organization partnering with Something More, a Counseling Center of Fairfield, Ohio. Any donation you make to RED! is tax-deductible.
In the near future, donations and new sponsorships will allow RED! to expand its visibility and ability to publish the kind of stories and informational reach you see here. In the near future, too, RED! plans to offer forums, workshops, and outreach events around the country, in our effort to promote the reality of transformation that has occurred and is occurring in the lives of formerly incarcerated people.
We believe in serving. We want to help construct bridge of writing from prisons and jails to the outside world, projecting the voices of individuals who have experienced a changed life in a positive way.
Thank you for joining in. Thank you for believing in the vision. Thank you for reading.
I still wake up at night thinking about what RED! can become. This is The Breakthrough ‘Zine.More soon.