HOW AM I FREE?
Often the question is asked how I, who was once sentenced to LIFE plus 30 years, plus 30 more years, managed to achieve five degrees, become a minister, author, professionally paid speaker, business owner, and a high-salaried employee, beyond just merely staying “on the outside.”
Of course, my first answer refers to my commitment to follow Christ, seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Usually, however, there are follow-up questions. After all, everyone knows someone who has confessed Christ as their Lord and savior, behind the walls and on the outside, but who may not be doing quite so well, achieving sometimes at lower levels.
The credit goes to God, as it was He who inspired me to establish long-term and short-term goals while serving LIFE plus 60 years in prison, surrounded by others who were wasting the time, waiting idly for that one eventual date to be let out. It was He who moved on the heart of the governor to grant me a release, so I could have a chance to pursue and achieve them.
As I began to envision and set goals, then write objectives and strategies to achieve them, my picture began to crystalize. I began to say, “The ME I see is the ME I’ll BE!”
While many said I was losing my mind, I just added more details. The picture became crystal clear, almost a living organism, taking on a life of its own, giving me purpose, excitement, hope and the fuel to pursue it.
Every one of those goals has been achieved, proving the almost magical effect of going through that process. I have since developed a 12-week program which I have used to lead individuals one-on-one, and to counsel many ex-offenders who often express their gratitude for the mentorship and coaching.
Hence, I’m FREE, Incorporated has been given birth. As a registered 501©(3) nonprofit, it is designed to mentor returning citizens and give them a viable platform from which to launch a new beginning to their lives. It is a structured, systematic approach to developing a life plan/manual and getting a jumpstart to achievement.
GED & Adult basic education (ABE)- The plan utilizes existing continuing education programs like Hinds Community College (HCC) who has offered free transportation to commuters.
Personal Growth & Development (Audio books) - The residents will utilize a robust audio and video library of personal growth and development to write discussion points. Note: To think is to put it in ink. Written material will come from their feedback and from outlined assignments.
Etiquette -Learning / demonstrating the value and development of improved social skills, manners designed to create appeal, gain favor, at work, church, family in various social settings.
Life-Scripts (Communication) - Along with proper etiquette, the participant learns from a life scripts manual designed to promote clarity to processes and protocols while improving interpersonal, communication.
Computer Literacy- Exploring hands-on the essential, most common Microsoft and Apple applications, effective researching techniques, keyboarding, social media behavior, and basic online coursework.
Work-readiness/Workplace Ethics–Job preparation / acquisition skills and job retention.
Financial Literacy/Credit Repair- Budgeting and personal finance, time value of money, and credit score improvement.
Various modes of learning and training are utilized for effective adaptation and retention. A workbook is provided to each participant which will be used for personal study notes and assignments. PowerPoint presentations with handouts are likewise used. Participants will work together on projects to foster teamwork and to enhance cooperation in tasks and problem solving. A vast library of audio-books is available to strengthen thought and self-development, along with video supplements to reinforce series of independent, self-driven study lessons.
Participants will be learning effective communication and will take their turn sharing learned concepts with others. Throughout the 12-week period, a running account of progress is kept, and a journal of shifting interests and profound learning experiences is encouraged.
Experienced business professionals have volunteered to teach some coursework to offer a current, real-time view of their professions and what they expect from employees. Others have volunteered to teach personal finance and debt management. We will propose customized job shadowing with prospective willing employers. We will take advantage of volunteer and community service opportunities as they arise. Certificates are awarded at completion and entries are added to their resumes.
"When a female experiences abuse in any of its many forms, (emotional, physical, financial, sexual, etc.), they may go throughout their lives, holding, harboring, carrying the hurt and pain, the bitterness and shame, until someone can usher them out of their dark pasts and into the light."
--Kolean W. Sanders
Founder of Geneva Foundation, Inc.
'On the contrary, when males are abused, they often go throughout their lives seeking to gain the control which they lacked in their own victim experience. They often let it out by being aggressive and hurtful to others.''
Founder of I'm Free, Inc.
HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE
Kolean Sanders, author of the book The Legacy of Geneva - The Gift of a Mother's Wisdom, teaches abuse and domestic violence victims how to survive, walking them, step-by-step out of their darkness into the light.
Sheldon Gooch, author of the book I'm Free, tells how God set him free from the slavery of drug addiction, violence, crime, and from a prison sentence of Life plus 60-years.
Evangelist Kolean Sanders & Minister Sheldon Gooch share in graphic detail about 2 of our nation’s hottest issues.
Then they share a step-by-step process out of the darkness into the light, free to set a new course on life.