Bridging the Gap Between Gang Members at North Central

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A program at the North Central Correctional Complex in Marion, Ohio is changing hearts.

“When I got here, I was a hot mess. I was just torn up and broken. You know, I thought that coming here, it was over; that I’m another statistic; that there’s no hope and I was lost.”

But that wasn’t the case. Committed staff, caring volunteers, and a program called Christian rap made all the difference for a group of offenders.

The class is led by Kent Money.

“I volunteer a lot. I’m up here two or three times a week, so I thought if I’m going to come up here, I want to make an impact not only in individual lives but also the institution.”

Warden Neil Turner couldn’t do it without volunteers.

“Really, the heart of the program is somebody from the outside, somebody that’s a volunteer coming in and saying, ‘Look guys, there’s a better way to do things.” 

So the class took off, three years ago, and today it’s thriving. And the offenders in the class are former gang members. And even the offenders can’t believe it’s working so well.

“I’ve been in a lot of programs since I’ve been locked up, but this program is something different. To see gang members in the same program together, interacting as friends and showing love not just in the program but outside on the compound-that’s a big impact especially in prisons today.”

Thanks to volunteers like John Duffy and James Dillard III, both employees of Honda…the class is having tremendous results.

John Duffy says it boils down to how we look at incarcerated individuals.

“What the world portrays is behind those walls is a group of monsters. What it’s really been like; they’re human beings that look just like me and you who have made some mistakes; some small mistakes, some big mistakes, but they’re human beings. When we come in here and treat them just like, and we’re not judging them, it kind of gives them hope.”

This video is courtesy the Honda corporation which put together a longer story about the rap class. You’ve got to see it, because this article is just a small part of the story. See the full version to find out why one volunteer looks at this service in a much more deep and personal way; in fact, for him, the experience is healing.

Click on the link below to see the complete story.

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