Over the past 15 years I have had an opportunity to be connected to the Lionheart Foundation as a Board Member, a professional in the criminal justice field and and as a donor. Robin Casarjian the founder and director is a person of integrity and vision who has taken on a mission that benefits not only those inside the prisons but all of us on the outside who want a safer society. I have had the personal experience of watching the development of Lionheart and witnessed the difference it has made in the lives of many people. The first book "Houses of Healing" became part of the program I created at Billerica House of Correction for men in the violence prevention unit. The information in the book helped individuals to take responsibility for their own lives and accountability for their actions. By gifting the book free of charge to chaplains and other professionals in the criminal justice system Robin made sure that the book was available in prisons throughout the country. Programs were set up in various prisons and reactions from incarcerated men and women came flooding in. This was and is a tool that was deeply appreciated and needed if people are to make a change in their lives. The videos that were developed along with a training manual have helped professionals to run programs and include and train volunteers. Over the years it became obvious that youth at risk were the natural next focus and "Power Source" was introduced along with a training manual. And then with "Power Source Parenting" Lionheart began to focus on the young parents who desperately needed support and guidance. This organization has provided resources for professionals in the field not only in this country but in other countries as well. If you wanted to put your financial gifts to work in a grass root organization that is dedicated to making a change in our world I would recommend the Lionheart Foundation.
It is with great pleasure and excitement that I am writing to you about the Lionheart Foundation and their tremendous work with “Houses of Healing” and “Power Source”. We have had the tremendous privilege of knowing and working with Robin Casarjian and the Lionheart Foundation for the past ten years.
Roca is a vision and value-led youth and young adult development organization in Chelsea, Revere and East Boston, Massachusetts. Through transformational relationships, innovative life skills development, educational and pre-employment programming and activities and a new transitional employment program, Roca successfully creates opportunities for young people between the ages of 14 and 24. Roca works with young people who have been marginalized by society - those who are street youth, gang involved, pregnant or parenting, living in communities of violence, low income, disabled, ethnic and sexual minorities, adjudicated, system involved or of immigrant families.
Annually, Roca works intensively with 600 young people, provides less intensive services to 150-200 young people and 250+ parents, and outreach and education to 20,000 young people. Roca has a powerful array of community and institutional partners including Massachusetts General Hospital, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Youth Services, City of Chelsea, Chelsea/Revere Probation Department, Bunker Hill Community College, North Shore Community College, Chelsea Police Department, the Chelsea Public Schools, and many others.
Over the years, Roca staff and youth leaders have been using the Houses of Healing and Power Source books and videos and, more recently, the Power Source Parenting book. Roca youth enthusiastically participated in focus groups for Power Source, the videos for two of the Power Source sessions, and, for Power Source Parenting, a series of discussions and pilot project for young parents. “Houses of Healing”, “Power Source” and “Power Source Parenting” provide powerful and most importantly accessible models for young people, staff and administration at Roca to understand more about ourselves, our psycho-social development, and emotional literacy. Roca has incorporated peacemaking circles into the 8 – 10 week courses for each of the books as well.
Young people and staff speak extremely positively of the information they learn and the experiences they have in the groups. The material helps young people understand complex and difficult things in their lives while providing them a framework they can use and work with to grow and learn. Young people often refer back to what they learned in “Power Source.”
We are very excited and honored to work with the Lionheart Foundation on any and all projects. We have been able to assist in finding funding for the Spanish translation for “Power Source”, we are very excited about the evolving work for young mothers, and we are endlessly asking about the next video for young people who struggle with reading. Through our extensive network of community partners in the state, nationally and internationally, we are thrilled to share the Lionheart’s work with everyone we meet.
I as well as many of the staff at Roca are very fortunate to have been working with young people for many, many years. We have seen a lot of information, materials, curriculums, programs, etc., however, we not only believe, but know that “Power Source” is the best book and curriculum of its kind for young people that we have seen to date.
Review from Guidestar
I got involved in the Lionheart Foundation several years ago; it's an excellent organization that's making real progress in breaking dysfunctional cycles in society - at risk youth, very young parents, and prisoners. Our prisons in the US are basically MBA programs for criminals. We're paying a fortune to lock people up - and very little to help criminals and others turn their lives around.
Review from Guidestar