Faith-Based Efforts to Assist Criminal Offenders-DC Public Safety Radio

See http://media.csosa.gov for our television shows, blog and transcripts.

Radio Program available at http://media.csosa.gov/podcast/audio/2011/10/faith-based-efforts-to-assist-criminal-offenders-dc-public-safety-radio/

We welcome your comments or suggestions at leonard.sipes@csosa.gov or at Twitter at http://twitter.com/lensipes.

[Audio Begins]

Len Sipes:  From the nation’s capital, this is DC Public Safety. I’m your host, Leonard Sipes. The program today, ladies and gentlemen, is on faith-based initiatives. You know, we have a very large faith-based initiative here in the District of Columbia under my agency, the Court Services and Offenders Supervision Agency. We’ve had 2,000 offenders participate since the program began in 2002. We have 326 offenders participating now. We have 108 faith-based institutions. They are joined by 86 community organizations, and 500 mentors. So this is an extraordinarily large program. Christine Keels, who is the program manager of the faith-based initiative, she is the person who has put all this together, done an extraordinarily good job, an amazing job, of really making this program sing. One of the things that she’s done is to create special emphasis programs, special programs that go along with the faith-based environment. I’m gonna list just a few–women’s empowerment, a relapse prevention, grief counseling, job coaching, parenting skills, family reunification, relationship restoration, housing assistance and a reintegration support group. Joining Christine Keels today at our microphones is Marvin. We’re not gonna use Marvin’s last name. He’s currently under the supervision of my agency—again, Court Services and Offenders Supervision Agency. We are a federal parole and probation agency here in Washington, DC.  And Julia—we’re not gonna use Julia’s last name either—again, she’s currently under supervision of CSOSA, my agency. And to Christine, and to Marvin, and to Julia—welcome to DC Public Safety.

Marvin:  Thank you.

Julia:  Thank you.

Christine Keels:  Thank you for inviting us.

Len Sipes:  Okay, Christine. How in the name of heavens did you put all this together?  I mean, this isn’t a program, it’s a nation! I mean, you’ve got a lot of programs here that in the time that you’ve been in charge of the faith-based program, that you have pretty much instituted, and the amount of people, the amount of faith-based organizations, churches, synagogues, mosques—the amount of organizations, the amount of people, the amount of community organizations–that have been involved in this, have grown substantially. So how did you do all this?

Christine Keels:  Well, I have a very awesome team working with me of three cluster Lead Faith Institutions–Israel Baptist Church, Greater Mt Calvary Holy Church, and Covenant Baptist United Church—and they are very, very supportive, as well as all the staff here at CSOSA.  And so what we have done is looked at what are the needs, and we have developed programs to meet those needs, and classes and workshops. So we’re actively engaged in helping to make people’s lives whole.

Len Sipes:  Now, the whole idea behind the faith-based program—and we have to say this right from the very beginning—because you go and join a mentor from a faith-based institution, it doesn’t matter if that person is Baptist, Catholic, Jewish, a member of the Islamic faith, that person is not asked to buy into that faith. He or she are simply receiving services from a mentor from that organization. So there’s no pressure whatsoever to involve that person under our supervision in their religious life, correct?

Christine Keels:  That’s absolutely right. There’s no proselytizing, but we are focusing on the fact that the faith institution is the number one institution in the community. So we want to reconnect people to those institutions that are in walking distance from where they live. But again, no proselytizing and no pressure.

Len Sipes:  But, you know, the interesting thing is what you just said, the faith-based organizations—the church, the mosque, the synagogue—they are the center points of any community in this country. They are the power sources. They pretty much have an amazing array – some of these churches, mosques and synagogues have an amazing array of services that they can provide. They’re out there as a mentor. We hook them up with somebody who’s currently under our supervision, and they can get an array of services. It’s just not a friendship, it’s just not mentoring, it’s just not helping that person. These organizations also provide a massive array of services!

Christine Keels:  That’s correct—from food to housing, clothing, mentoring, support, counseling. So it’s a natural connection.

Len Sipes:  And there’s a long tradition here in Washington DC, and I would imagine every city in the United States would make this claim, that again, the faith-based institutions are the rocks that their communities are built upon. And you know, offenders come out of the prison system, they generally tend to hang out on a corner, which gets them in trouble. They generally tend to hang out with other organizations or gangs, which gets them into trouble. The faith-based organizations strike me as being a gang for good. So instead of, you know, that person needs companionship, that person needs guidance, that person needs people to embrace him or her; wouldn’t you rather that person be involved in a faith-based organization than hanging out on the corner? Isn’t that the whole idea behind the program?

Christine Keels:  Well, Leonard, let me update you on your terms. We now call it “pro-social”, we don’t call it a “gang”. And so we’re looking for excellent pro-social community support, and the faith-based institutions provide that, from counseling groups as well as activity groups and events that our offenders can attend.

Len Sipes:  Okay. Alright, Marvin, it’s your turn. Now, you’re working. You’re no longer involved in the faith-based program. All of your goals have been pretty much accomplished. How did you do that? Can you tell me a little bit about your story? How did you get involved in the faith-based program, and how did you accomplish all your goals?

Marvin:  Oh, well, I met my mentor through SRTP, a program I was at, Ducie Soza and I come in contact with him for—excuse me—maybe a couple, maybe a month or two.

Len Sipes:  Mm-hm.

Marvin:  After that I lost contact with him. I just decided to do, [PH] it was supposed to have been done anyway, to try to stay out from going back and forth to jail, and be a better individual and a father.

Len Sipes:  Right.

Marvin:  So I just stayed away from the past crowds and spent more time with my family.

Len Sipes:  Did you find the faith-based program to be helpful?

Marvin:  Yeah, I found my mentor, he was real helpful. He was like somebody – he called and tried to keep in contact with me, basically like somebody that really cared, even though I just met him.

Len Sipes:  Mm-hm.

Marvin:  And I’m really not too good with just associating with people like that, but the [PH] Lord time that I did know him though, he was okay.

Len Sipes:  Now, a lot of the people coming out of the prison system, they’re pretty suspicious of everybody and everything. How did you find – how comfortable were you with your mentor? You just said that you were a little uncomfortable with this. I mean, most people feel that – you know, coming out of the prison system – feel that everybody is out there, even if they’re trying to help them, they’re doing it for a reason, they’re not really doing it because they really want to help; they really don’t want to help the person under supervision, there’s gotta be another motive. So, did it take a long time for that person to break the ice, to get to know you, to get to talk to you, to build up your confidence?

Marvin:  No, it was just – I guess it was just conversation, the way he spoke, the way he – he didn’t seem like this was a job. This was like something he wanted to do, like he wanted to help me, he wanted to look out for me.

Len Sipes:  Right.

Marvin:  So, I decided to start talking to him a little more, and the times that we did talk, it was more like a friendly conversation than this is something that I have to do, or somebody that I have to talk to. But it was more genuine. We was more basically like friends almost.

Len Sipes:  Got it. And how important was that to you in terms of making your transformation from prison to the community? How important was that relationship?

Marvin:  I mean, it was important, ‘cause he tried to make sure – he called and checked up, and made sure my kids and everything was okay. That type of motivation just help me motivate to do what I was supposed to, done what I did, come on the streets.

Len Sipes:  If you, if everybody who came out of the prison system had a mentor like you did, do you think that it’s gonna cut down on people going back to crime, going back to drugs, going back to the corner? Do you think it would be a big help? Do you think it would be of marginal help? How much of an impact, if everybody had a mentor, what do you think the impact would be?

Marvin:  I mean, it could help, but it’s all on what they do, what they mind frame is.

Len Sipes:  Yeah.

Marvin:  ‘Cause as much as a mentor try to help, if you don’t want no help –

Len Sipes:  Right.

Marvin:  – you gonna still do what you do, to go right back the way you just came from, or whatever you wanna do.

Len Sipes:  Right. But a lot of people coming out of the prison system, their lives, 80 per cent have histories of substance abuse. A lot of folks coming out of the prison system have mental health issues. A lot of people coming out of the prison system don’t have a job history. I mean they do need help. They do need somebody to guide them, don’t you think?

Marvin:  Yeah, they probably – I think they do need help. A lot of people do need help, and a lot of people need to help theyself by they’s thinking. If they don’t come out wanting to do it, no matter how much help you give them, they not gonna do it.

Len Sipes:  And you know what, Marvin? In 20 years of doing programs—radio and television programs–interviewing folks caught up in the criminal justice system, everybody has pretty much said that, is that you’ve got to have it inside your heart that you really want to change, that you really are going to change. So you’re right. What you’re saying is –  I’ve heard from everybody else. It’s not necessarily the programs, but the programs do help. I mean, you’ve gotta have that intestinal fortitude, you’ve gotta have that determination that you’re gonna succeed, but some people, you know – how many people have I run into in  life who said, “I’m not going back to prison” but ended up back in prison? You know, sometimes a mentor can make all the difference, and I’m just wondering if that’s right or wrong?

Marvin:  No, they get – I mean, you right, you absolutely right because a lot of people need help regardless, and just with somebody they can sit down and talk to, that could be a start. There might be individuals that didn’t like to listen, and they pay [INDISCERNIBLE] or sitting down and listening could help them in their future now. So somebody wanna sit back and speak to you, it ain’t – they not telling you what to do, they talking to you.

Len Sipes:  Mm-hm.

Marvin:   They ask you and they trying to help you, so that mean a whole lot than somebody saying “go do this”.

Len Sipes:  Mm-hm.

Marvin:  And you like, “I really don’t want to, so I’m not” instead of “C’mon, let me go with you while we do this.”

Len Sipes:  Right. All right, Julia, I’m gonna go over to you. I’m not gonna use your last name. You’re currently under supervision. You’re a homemaker. You have three grandchildren at home, so thank you very much for having the fortitude to take your three grandchildren. You said that your goals were to get sober, to be a better parent, and you’re looking for work. How are you gonna find work and take care of three grandkids at the same time? That’s a huge job!

Julia:  Well I’m actually, at this present time, all my grandchildren do not reside in the same home as I do, but I do babysit them a lot, and I do spend time with them, a lot more now than I have in the past. As far as finding work, when I completed the Lifetime Makeover, which is a faith initiative based group, it gave me more confidence in myself, and then someone will probably say, “Well, why would you need to go to a group, you know, to believe in yourself again?” Because sometimes in life, when you’ve been in the criminal justice system, and you’re already labeled by society that, you know, this person got locked up, and you know, they’re just no good, and they can’t re-enter back into society and they can’t, you know, do anything but the same old things again, these groups help. Personally for myself, it helped me with my self-esteem. It made me believe that I always wanted to be a homeowner, that I know one day I could be a home owner. For all the goals and dreams that I ever had in life, I believe now more so than ever that I can do these things; and it was all from being a part of that group.

Len Sipes:  Now, if the group wasn’t there, if you came out of the prison system and the group did not exist and you were entirely on your own, you would have what most agencies call a parole and probation agent. We call them community supervision officers here in the District of Columbia. But if you didn’t have the auspices of the faith-based group, if you didn’t have all of these various programs that we talked about at the beginning of the program, where would you be now?

Julia:  I think it goes back to the statement that Marvin made, it’s all up to the individual. But I found within inside myself, with the group, it helped. It’s like unity. It’s like a small family. It’s a lot of support. It just gives you that initiative that you want to do better, you know? And you’re not labeled. And it’s like a family, you know, and it’s just so many things that you know you always probably could do, but you know, you really know now that you can do it, because there’s so much support. You know? And it’s people that really care, it’s not just groups that they’ve thrown together and they say, “Well, you have to do it because you’re on probation, or your probation officer suggested this.” You’re selected, you know, for these groups, and it’s because you’re in compliance and you’re doing the right things. And also, even if you’re not in compliance, some of the groups are there to help you, because they want you to get in compliance and be able to get back out in the work world, in society, to be able to live your life, you know, as a normal person without drugs and alcohol –

Len Sipes:  Mm-hm.

Julia:  – and all of the things that we should do anyway.

Len Sipes:  Mm-hm.

Julia:  So, I just think it’s awesome. I really do personally. A lot of people probably would say, “Well, you know, I don’t want to do this and that, I already have to report. You know, I have to do your analysis test. You know, they got me doing enough things, so why should I do this?” But that’s the whole secret to it, that one thing that they want you to do is the answer to everything.

Len Sipes:  First round and we’re already halfway through the program. Even before we get to go with the question number two, I want to re-introduce our guest today, Christine Keels, program manager of faith-based initiatives from my agency, Court Services and Offenders Supervision Agency, a federal parole and probation agency here in Washington DC. Marvin, who is currently under supervision, who is off the program, he’s just basically accomplished all of his goals, and the last person you heard from is Julia. She is currently under supervision and she is doing extraordinarily well. I do want to give out the web site for Court Services and Offenders Supervision Agency, www.csosa.gov, www.csosa.gov, and Christine has foolishly decided to give out her phone number, 202-515-0892; 202-515-0892. I do want everybody to fill up Christine’s phone mailbox, and I’ll be mentioning the web site and Christine’s contact point throughout the program. Christine, we do want more people from more faith-based institutions to mentor more people caught up in the criminal justice system. The clusters, although – we’re the federal government, so we can’t accept donations, but our three clusters—the Lead Faith organizations that much pretty much organize the city for us, they can take donations. So if anybody wants to talk about providing donations through this extraordinarily worthy cause, they can get back in touch with us.

Christine Keels:  Yes, and let me correct the phone number. It’s 202-510-0892. That’s 202-510-0892. That’s my government cell phone, and I’d love to talk to you.

Len Sipes:  You know, I’ve got a group of people up in New York, and I constantly make reference to them because whenever I screw up a name, I get e-mails saying, “Leonard, you can’t pronounce a name to save your life!” Now they’re gonna say, “Leonard, you can’t get a phone number correct to save your life.” So, in any event, Christine, you know, the faith-based concept, you know, government can only do so much. Government has always been somewhat limited in terms of what it is that we can do. We don’t have the legitimacy of the faith-based organizations. You go to any Baptist church, you go into any mosque, you go into any synagogue, they’re the power. There is the power.

Christine Keels:  Mm-hm.

Len Sipes:  Here are the people who have access, the jobs. Here are the people who have access to resources. Here are the people who care.

Christine Keels:  Mm-hm.

Len Sipes:  And that, to me, has always been the power of the faith-based initiative. I mean, people caught up in the criminal justice systems take a look at people like you and I saying, “Well, you’re paid to do this.” But they take a look at the volunteers and they’re saying, “Hey, they’re not paid to do this, so they’re doing this because they want to help me get over all the ills that I’ve had in my life, and they want to see me succeed.” Isn’t that the heart and soul of the faith-based initiative?

Christine Keels:  Yes, and for me, it fulfills my mission and helps me fulfill my faith journey as well. And to have people in the community who oftentimes our offenders already know, they already know these folks, they’ve gone to the faith institutions, they know them as Miss Suzy next door or Mr. Charles down the street. And to help them to reconnect with those persons is just so important. And our faith-based mentors are very committed. They are volunteers, which means they are not paid. They come to us with a lot of skills and talents from their professional and life skills, and they’re able to bring that back to us and to share, –

Len Sipes:  Mm-hm.

Christine Keels:  – and we’re just so appreciative of that. We do provide training on basic mentoring, communication, and a number of other special emphasis skills.  Marvin referred to our secured residential treatment facility, which is a place where he participated in a diagnosis of his addiction, and that particular program prepared him for a mentor.

Len Sipes:  Mm-hm.

Christine Keels:  A mentor came in, and then began to help him remember “What are some of the triggers, what are some of the things that he needs to watch out for, how does he prevent relapse?” And so the mentors are just – they’re life coaches.

Len Sipes:  Mm-hm.

Christine Keels:  You know, we think of the word “mentor” and we think of when we were teenagers, somebody who took us to the circus and took us to the zoo, and I tell our offenders that if you wanna go to the circus or the zoo, we’ll take you there; but the basic role of the mentors is to help them make decisions, find resources and to be able to communicate effectively with their community supervision officers.

Len Sipes:  Mm-hm.

Christine Keels:  Those are skills that they take into their life, beyond CSOSA.

Len Sipes:  I want to get back to a question to any one of you, but particularly Marvin and Julia. We talked about this a little bit before the program, and that is that people have stereotypes of people who are caught up in the criminal justice system. Now, again, I’ve been doing this for 20 years, interviewing people caught up in the criminal justice system, both on radio and television, and I said before the program that, you know, people have this image in their mind of criminal, and they have a preconceived notion. They’ve watched the evening news, they’ve read the newspaper, they’ve looked at the cable stations, the programs about people in prison, and they say to themselves, “I don’t want to come into contact with anybody who has been caught up in the criminal justice system. All I hear about are the negatives. Parolee does this, parolee does that.” So how do you break through that in terms of when you go on the job, when you deal with your mentor? And does mentoring help you overcome that stereotype that society has of you? Julia, I’m gonna start with you. So Julia, you’re a criminal.

Julia:  Well, no, I’m not a criminal. I committed a criminal act. I would say to anyone in the criminal justice system, just know that, you know, you’re a human being and you made a mistake. I could use for an example, let’s say a doctor. You know, a doctor could not have done a surgery in over 20 years, and he performs a surgery on a patient and he makes an awful mistake, and it calls for a malpractice suit.

Len Sipes:  Mm-hm.

Julia:  So does that make him a criminal? I mean, do you wanna just take his license from him because he did a poor operation he didn’t do? So, I mean, look at people that have committed crimes in the same manner. We deserve, you know, another chance. And some of us don’t get it right the first time.

Len Sipes:  Mm-hm.

Julia:  Sometimes we get convicted two, three, four times. You know, some of us get it right, and then some of us may never get it right. But it’s up to that individual. You know, it’s up to what you want to do in life. But just society as a whole, I mean, I believe that overall, maybe every state in the United States, there’s one family or more where someone in their family has been in the criminal justice system.

Len Sipes:  Mm-hm.

Julia:  So if you were to say, “Well, I’m not gonna hire her because, you know, she got caught for shoplifting”, and you know, you have a store. Why not give her that chance? You know, because she did it once, doesn’t mean she’ll do it again. It’s not that every offender is a repeat offender. And for those that are, they still deserve a chance.

Len Sipes:  Now did the faith-based environment give you the strength, give you the confidence, build you up to the point where you’re saying to yourself, “I don’t care what the stereotype is –

Julia:  Oh, very much so!

Len Sipes:  – I know who I am, I know what I’m capable of doing –

Julia:  Exactly.

Len Sipes:  – I’m not gonna let that stereotype get in my way. I’m gonna succeed.” Now did the faith-based environment help you get there?

Julia:  It helped me in a way that only me and my Higher Power know. And I say that because, as I said before, a lot of people that are in the criminal justice system, they lose faith in their self. They lose that self-esteem. They lose the love that they have for their self as a human being.

Len Sipes:  Right.

Julia:  Because, like you said, you’re stereotyped. But I wake up every morning, I thank God for waking me up. I have wonderful children, I have beautiful grandchildren. I have a loving family overall, which was there anyway –

Len Sipes:  Right.

Julia:  – before I even got in trouble.

Len Sipes:  Right.

Julia:  I mean, I just believe everyone deserves a chance, and that’s just why I used the doctor, for example.

Len Sipes:  Marvin, I’m gonna go and basically ask the same question of you. I mean, people take a look, hear the word “criminal” and they have that vision in their mind, and as far as they’re concerned, that’s it. They say to themselves, “You know, we’ve got people without work, we’ve got elderly people who need to be taken care of, we’ve got schools that need to be taken care of, why am I gonna spend my time dealing with quote/unquote “criminals”. So why would people spend their time dealing with quote/unquote “criminals”?

Marvin:  Okay, I look at criminal, that’s just a – I guess that’s just a nametag or something you get when you make a mistake. I ain’t so sure, you know what I’m saying, but it’s all on – I mean, if you gotta go to these type of people and that’s the way they look at you, then there’s really not too much you can do about it. It’s something that they gotta work on and change, ‘cause there’s gonna be somebody that’s gonna have – wherever you got that name tag and that, eventually, and then you just gotta do the best at what you can get.

Len Sipes:  Mm-hm. And again, I get back to the power of the faith-based program. I get back to that, because in my mind, I don’t care what situation you are  in life, if you surround yourself with positive influences, if you surround yourself with positive people, everybody – everybody listening to this program and everybody in this room, including me, has had tough times. And you need to surround yourself with positive people who are gonna embrace you and lift you up and say, “Uh-huh, what’s happening now is temporary. Here’s where you going.” To me, every time I’ve dealt with a faith-based program, that’s my takeaway, that there are people there who are willing to help people cross that bridge. Chris?

Christine Keels:  When we make mistakes, the most important formula is nurture and care. We restore ourselves from any mistake we make with nurture and care. And so when someone makes a mistake, the rest of the community around that person has to provide nurture and care. In order to be restored again, I say nurture and care. Even when a baby falls from his attempt to walk, we provide nurture and care. We say, “Get up, try it again.” And we tell them the new way to try it. We don’t say, you know, “Fall again”, we tell them a new way to be able to make that walk perfectly. And life is a walk. We all go through this journey from life to death, and so what we do is continue to nurture and care. And the faith-based institution, that’s their number two ingredient—number one and number two ingredient–nurture and care.

Len Sipes:  Mm-hm.

Christine Keels:  And so we can’t afford to give up on anybody.

Len Sipes:  Well, but people do. We give up on people all the time. We give up and you know, we say, “They’re a drug addict. I don’t have time with deal with drug addicts. They’re an alcoholic. I don’t have time to deal with alcoholics.  They’re people who are just hanging out on the corner, why are they always hanging out on the corner? I don’t wanna deal with that person.” That’s the image that people have. Now admittedly when we first started the faith-based program, it’s not like everybody flocked to our side.

Christine Keels:  That’s true.

Len Sipes:  Okay? And they had to overcome. Even the faith-based community had to overcome that stereotype. But now you’ve built a small army.

Christine Keels:  Well, I did that by making sure people realized that they’re –

Len Sipes:  Even the cluster coordinators –

Christine Keels:  That’s right.

Len Sipes:  I’m sorry, not the –

Christine Keels:  Not just Miss Keels, not just Miss Keels –

Len Sipes:  – not just the cluster coordinator part of it.

Christine Keels:  – my entire team.

Len Sipes:  That’s right, the entire team.

Christine Keels:  Over 500 people or more –

Len Sipes:  That’s right.

Christine Keels:  – have put this together. What we do is put a face in front of that label. We get rid of the label by putting a face, a personality, and flesh around that, so that people can see it’s a human being–human beings make mistakes—and that we provide nurture and care. And CSISO is very, very strong on support, resources and building. And so putting CSISO with the faith-based community, what a wonderful match of being able to look at “How do you help someone restore themselves, revive themselves?”  You know, someone said to me one time, “How do you revive something that didn’t exist? If the person didn’t have it in them, how do you revive it?” Then you create it, you mold it, you shape it, you introduce it, so that you bring that person back to a level of competency, so that they can live successfully.

Len Sipes:  But the important thing that people need to hear is that these programs do help individuals caught up in the criminal justice system cross that bridge. Because when they cross that bridge, look at in Julia’s case, she’s taking care of three children.

Christine Keels:  That’s right.

Len Sipes:  There’s three human beings who are now taken care of because she was able to cross that bridge. People go from tax burdens to tax payers. People go from committing crimes to not committing crimes.

Christine Keels:  That’s absolutely correct.

Len Sipes:  People go from not taking care of their kids to taking care of the kids. I mean, these are the successes that you pull off routinely. And I mean, Marvin and Julia, chime in here. Am I right or wrong?

Julia:  You’re right. You’re absolutely right—excuse me.

Len Sipes:  Now I know you have to have it inside you. I know it’s just not the availability of the program. You have to have the willingness to change, as Marvin said at the beginning of the program. But if you don’t have the opportunities, if you don’t have people surrounding you who are gonna lift you up, what happens to you?

Julia:  Then you’ll fall astray, and that’s just being honest and that’s facing reality. It feels good with the mentors when they give you their card or their phone number and they say, “You can call me any time—morning, noon and night.” I mean, how many people will do that? I mean, even your best friend. You know, you call the house at five in the morning, “What do you want?”   So for someone to care that much about you, then why should you not care about yourself? If they’re willing to believe in you and give you a chance, why can’t you believe in yourself? It’s so remarkable, and it’s so overwhelming. It was even moments during my sessions at group that, I mean I’m not embarrassed to say it, I even went home and cried.

Len Sipes:  Mm-hm.

Julia:  Because it was just overwhelming that someone loved me that much and believed in me that much. And it just made me know that I can do anything now. I know it takes time. You know, I didn’t make a mistake overnight. My life is just not gonna snap in the instant of a finger and become better overnight. But I’m sitting here today doing an interview with you, so this is a –

Len Sipes:  Yeah, that’s, that’s –

Julia:  – a big plus, you know? I’ve never did a radio interview, you know, so it’s showing growth already with me.

Len Sipes:  Marvin, you’ve got just a couple of seconds, because we have to give 30 seconds to close. So you’ve heard everything that I’ve said in terms of this whole concept of the group coming to your assistance. Does it really make a difference? It made a difference in your life. Does it really make a difference in the lives of others?

Marvin:  Yeah, it can; as long as they let it.

Len Sipes:  As long as they let it.

Marvin:  As long as they let it. If they don’t – I mean, it’s basically on the individual. They gotta want it, and there’s help for them. It might take time for them to open up for the help, but as long as they let it happen then it’ll work for them.

Len Sipes:  Okay, Marvin, you’ve got the final word. I really do appreciate everybody being here today. I love it whenever I do a program on faith-based initiative and hearing the success stories of the people involved. And so to Marvin and Julia, thank you very much. And to Christine Keels, and to all the faith-based people within the faith-based community in Washington DC and throughout the United States and throughout the world, we really appreciate it. Ladies and gentlemen, this is DC Public Safety. I am your host Leonard Sipes. We appreciate your comments. Have yourselves a very, very pleasant day.

[Audio Ends]

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