All posts by cloakedmonk

I am a monk disguised as a passionate prophet. My true loves are God, family, and the creative arts. And maybe just a little bit of politics too. (PS My photo is by Eric Lyons Photography).

Decreasing juvenile incarceration

King County’s juvenile detention numbers have gone down since the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is more that can be done! In June, we joined a coalition of over 40 community organizations and leaders, including elected officials, in co-writing a follow-up letter to the King County Council calling for more action to release, with supports, the approximately 30 youth incarcerated in the county detention center, most of whom are awaiting the outcome of their cases.

Thank you to TeamChild for sharing this letter that we signed onto.

https://teamchild.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Free-the-Youth-King-County-Letter-from-Community-Coalition-June-12-2020.pdf

picture of person in shadows who is incarcerated, behind bars

Statement on Black Lives Matter

Below is the statement on Black Lives Matter that our mother organization, the Church Council of Greater Seattle, has published and with which we align:

 

Making the Necessary Linkages: A Statement from the Church Council of Greater Seattle In solidarity with our Black siblings as we demand justice for Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and every Black life lost to racist violence

May 29, 2020

“America’s original sin.” That is what preacher and author Jim Wallis of Sojourners calls racism – and it is. For people of faith who are not Black, a moment of lamentation for our complicity needs to give way to a lifetime of prioritizing the dismantling of the system of racism, whose virus of white privilege and white supremacy threatens our nation, just as COVID-19, climate change or the potential for war.

The brutal, premeditated killing of Ahmaud Arbery three months ago sparked local and national protest, leading to the arrest of the perpetrators  Mr. Arbery was jogging, unarmed, pursued by two white men who claimed they wanted to question him about alleged burglaries. Brazenly, they took arms and felt authorized to confront Mr. Arbery and take this young life. The horror of his murder was documented on video, the surfacing of which contributed to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation finally taking action. The failure of local prosecutors to act previously was a betrayal of justice. And, it is symptomatic of something more insidious.

Our outrage is redoubled at the recent, callous murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade by police. We join in demanding accountability from law enforcement, justice for their families, and transformation of the systems that perpetuate racist and reprehensible acts against the African American community.

“The acceptance of evil is cooperation with a lie,” theologian Jon Sobrino reflects.

The murder of African American citizens and fellow human beings is evil. The lie of our cooperation is rooted in white supremacy. In the U.S. context, white supremacy is: a system of domination where the violence of imposed suffering, poverty, lack of opportunity, compromised health care, denied workplace rights, and the thwarting of democratic voice and vote, is held up as unfortunate casualties in our “exceptionalism” for realizing “the American dream.”

No white person is immune to this lie. Sobrino notes that “good” people, perhaps even progressive, are engaged in hypocrisy wrapped around culpable blindness in knowing about the lie but not changing our lives accordingly to challenge it.

Rep. Karen Bass, the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, urges us to “make the necessary linkages” from this unspeakable incident:

Who is disproportionately falling ill with COVID-19?

Who are a great percentage of front-line workers in our service and health sectors putting their lives on the line, often without sufficient protective equipment, on our behalf?

Who bears the most significant burden of unemployment in Washington State and throughout the United States?

It is undeniably people and communities of color. Systems of oppression are laid bare in these pandemic times.  Violent acts of hate are not isolated events, but interconnected with a society that permits willful ignorance, not only around matters of basic health and science, but also around the every-day practices and structures that perpetuate the cruelty of systemic racism.

May the names of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and every Black person whose life is lost to hateful, racist violence be called out loud. May they be called out not only during this time of shock and disheartening, but until policies that bend the arc toward justice are promulgated and every human being may live out their lives in peace and equity.

Download this statement as a PDF here: CCGSStatement_NecessaryLinkages_5-29-2020

Update on Chaplaincy

Hi folks!  these are hard times during COVID19.

We ask that you keep all the youth, their families, the staff and all affected folks in your prayers as we pray for their safety, health, well-being, and growth during this time of social isolation.  If you think your isolation is bad, imagine being locked in a cell and not allowed to see your loved ones–or even your liked ones!

The youth in detention, at Echo Glen and at King County, are doing pretty well, all things considered.  There have been no illnesses due to COVID19 among the youth.  The adults, however, have experienced some amount of illness and illness within their families that has affected how staff shows up to the youth.

Families, volunteers, mentors and chaplains are being kept apart from the youth and are contacting them via telephone or web conferencing.  Each facility is doing the best they can in a time where supplies are hard to get (web conferencing supplies like webcams and microphones).  If you can donate anything, let me know!

 

Gratitude from Naselle Youth Camp

Hi all!

I just received a thank you note (below) from youth at Naselle Youth Camp. The Associate Superintendent reports that some youth characterized this Christmas as the best Christmas they have ever had

I think we, the social we, need to hold in our hearts what it means for a child to have the best Christmas they’ve ever experienced in a secure detention facility. To me, that means that they have been failed in systemic ways that are beyond my ability to fix. But together, I believe we can work on fixing them.

Thank you all for participating in the gift drive!

Peace,

Rev. Terri Jane Stewart

Christmas 2019 Update

WOW!  The community comes through!

We are in the midst of collecting the gifts bags as promised from the community.  What was originally a promise of 200 bags to cover all the youth at Echo Glen Children’s Center and at Naselle Youth Camp, has grown to be able to cover all the youth at the various group homes across Washington State.  That’s amazing!

Thank you to everyone who has participated! I’ll update a list of that later after all the gifts have come in.

Below: Gift bags from Sky Ministries in Renton.  Each bag is packed with presents!  This was just the start of our bounty.  Background: Echo Glen.

IMG_8550

Christmas 2019

Hello all!

This is Rev. Terri Stewart here.  I hope this moment in time finds you capturing moments of peace and the inbreaking of Love in your life.

Last year, through a partnership with a local PTA and many churches in the state of Washington, we were able to provide Christmas gift packages to 120 youth at Echo Glen Children’s Home and at Naselle Youth Camp.  This year, we do not have the partnership of that particular local PTA so it falls to us to be the hands and feet of Christmas!

I am here to ask you if your community can commit to gathering and donating gift bags for youth that include:

  • 1 board game, card game, or dominoes
  • 1 sports ball (basketball, volleyball, soccerball)
  • 1 youth-level book to read
  • 1 package of shampoo and conditioner
  • 1 package of peanut-free candy (skittles type candies)
  • 1 note/card of encouragement (affirmations and encouragement, no personal information, not in a sealed envelope)

DSC_0128_00081

It does make our lives much easier if you can gather complete gift bags rather than gathering only one of the items.  If just 12 churches commit to 10 bags each, we will have enough for two institutions and the youth and children held there to know that someone on the outside knows where they are and knows that they are beloved children of the most High.

Please contact me at 425.531.1756 or at YCC-Chaplain@thechurchcouncil.org if you can commit to providing one to 120 gift bags!  No donation is too small.

Peace,

Rev. Terri Jane Stewart

Training for Mentoring Incarcerated Youth

Rev. Terri Stewart of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition is bringing two trainings in April and May. She will be teaching how to be effective mentors that teach youth how to create action plans that lead to transformed lives on April 24 and will be bringing continuing education to current mentors on May 8. The training is free if you commit to working with incarcerated youth!

What a way to live into the promise of Resurrection! Resurrecting and reforming the lives of youth. We can become a new creation!

Rev. Stewart is also available for pulpit supply where she speaks of our commitment to ministering to the incarcerated through transformative listening and to interrupting racism through practices of peaceful non-violence.

MAP Mentor Training: Beginning the Conversation

April 24, 2018
5:30-8:30
The Norton Building
Register at: https://mentor-training.eventbrite.com

Learn how to be a mentor (MAPper) for incarcerated youth at King County Juvenile Detention Center.

Please make a donation to cover the cost of goods received.

MAP is a program designed to assist youth with creating transition programs so they can have a more successful go of it when they return to their home. It is created to take youth deeper over time resulting in a concrete action plan and community contacts.

What is MAP?

MAP is a mentorship program different from chaplaincy, probation counseling, or other mentorship programs for incarcerated youth. MAP was developed as a re-entry planning program which emphasizes autonomy, empowerment, and goal setting through a one-on-one mentorship relationship.

Mission

MAP elicits the wisdom of incarcerated youth by creating a process that allows them to access internal and external resources to assist them in the creation of their own re-entry action plan.

Goals

  • Provide drop-in coaching or mentoring to strengthen youth for the journey -or-
  • Provide consistent mentorship for four months or longer in order to strengthen confidence and commitment to future success upon release.
  • Through the setting of short-term goals or milestones, youth will be able to make minor achievements toward larger, long-term goals, potentially preventing recidivism.
  • Identify resources in the community that align with the self identified areas of concern that youth have identified through the MAP mentorship process.

Minimum Requirements to be a Mentor

  • 21 years or older
  • Ability to pass a government background check
  • Clear commitment to the MAP mission and goals
  • Great listening and communication skills
  • Ability to maintain clear professional and social boundaries
  • Demonstrate accountability and integrity under all circumstances
  • Commitment of 12 months

MAP Mentoring: Continuing the Conversation

May 8, 2018
6:00-8:00
The Norton Building
Registration at: https://mapcontinuinged.eventbrite.com

This is our first gathering of MAP Mentors and Coaches who work with youth at the King County Juvenile Detention Center. We will be gathering to:

-Learn about each other
-Learn about recent changes at King County Youth Service Center
-Learn about the program, and to
-Learn about how to do better

 

Best Starts for Kids Program: In the Eyes of an Intern

I asked my intern, Londyn, to reflect on King County’s Best Starts for Kids program. Below is her reflection. Please note that she used information available at their website: http://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/community-human-services/initiatives/best-starts-for-kids.aspx .

 

“I found it absolutely incredible that Best Starts for Kids is not only leading the nation in this approach but also the annual dollar amount invested by them into King County families. This is so encouraging to know. I’ve always been taught that your check book is a reflection of your priority’s, and clearly this expresses how much KC values not only their community but the young as well.

This reminded me of what scripture says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 NKJV). I admire their tactics, such as, investing early, maintaining the growth, valuing community and focusing on the results and data.

Although, these all go much deeper, they did a wonderful job of making their mission clear and their strategies evident. Boasting low juvenile detention numbers consistently compared to the demographic average. Through the use of alternative programs, equality of races and the reform of the juvenile justice system and practices they’re striving to eradicate disproportionalities of race within the system. Some alternatives mentioned on their site included, family intervention & restorative justice, creative justice, 180 programs, restorative mediation, step-up program and drug court.”

Youth Chaplaincy Program Summary

Our Programs

Chaplaincy

Chaplains are really great listeners. Overall chaplains provide a non-anxious listening presence. We listen from a spiritual standpoint that is looking for signs of life that you may not see and we listen with an open heart that meets you on your spiritual path.  We leave denominational and religious differences at the door. Chaplains are present on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Mentoring

Every Monday and Thursday in the Library, there are between 2-4 volunteers to talk to youth about anything on their mind: current issues, long-term goals, priority setting and/or next steps. Each session lasts around 30-40 minutes. Youth meet one-on-one with a mentor and talk — this time is completely judge-free and catered to youth! Mentoring is a secular program which means it is not focused on religion or spirituality. The focus of mentoring is walking with youth on their path.

Worship

Worship services happen each Sunday in library from 7:00—9:00. It happens in shifts so not everyone goes at once. Worship features a variety of church communities that come from all over King County.

REST Retreats

REST Retreats happen every other month on a Saturday and Sunday. REST stands for Real Escape from Sex Trafficking. The retreats are focused on recognizing trafficking when you see it, empowering youth to help others escape sex trafficking, and in learning about gender equity. We use the CAASE curriculum that is also used by Seattle Against Slavery (SAS)

SoulCollage Retreats

SoulCollage is an art process to explore the many parts of who we are. Do you have an inner prankster? Make a collage in honor of the prankster! An inner teacher? Honor the teacher! Perhaps you’d like to honor a person who is special to you—an auntie or hero. SoulCollage lets youth create and explore the many parts of them.

Scripture Study

There are a variety of scripture studies that take place throughout the week.

Boys Hall #1—Tuesdays at 6:00

Boys Hall #2—Wednesdays at 6:00

Girls Hall—Fridays at 7:00

Girls Hall—Saturdays at 1:00

Peacemaking Circles

We are intimately involved in the current healing of the incarceration system through the use of Peacemaking Circles. Most would call this restorative justice, but I am reluctant to put a new label on an ancient process.

The Peacemaking Circle process comes to us through Saroeum Phoung who was taught by the Tagish and Tlingit First Nation people of the Yukon Territories.

You can learn more about the King County Peacemaking Coordinating Team at kingcountyPCT.org.

How Can You Help?

Spiritual support.

Will you make a commitment to pray for the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition?  The Advisory Board Members?  The Volunteers?  The Youth of Affected by incarceration?  The Staff at the Detention Centers?

Would you want to volunteer at any of the detention centers?  Once a year?  Weekly? In a study? Life skills? Worship? Resume writing? Cooking?

Financial support.

Could you make a commitment to making a donation to the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition? To being an ongoing donor?  Buying Bibles?  Purchasing needed supplies such as socks, shampoo, and soap?  Providing opportunities to youth to attend events such as sports or theaters?

Administrative support.

Would you like to help out by providing administrative support?  Finding grant opportunities?  Mailing out fundraising letters? Finding speaking opportunities?

Please contact Rev. Terri Stewart if you are interested.

flyer for youth

Peacemaking Circle: Final Sentencing

The Peacemaking Coordinating Team and PointOneNorth Consulting LLC cordially invites you to:

PEACEMAKING CIRCLE CASE FINAL SENTENCING

FRIDAY, JULY 7

4-5PM

King County Juvenile Court, Lobby 1211 East Alder Seattle, WA 98122

Please join us and bear witness to our second case using the Peacemaking Circle Process as an alternative to the traditional punitive sentencing process.

This is the result of collaboration and partnership between families, communities, and the Justice system to address harm, heal, promote accountability, and build community. For more information please contact members of the Peacemaking Coordinating Team of King County at PCTteam@kingcountyPCT.org

PDF Flyer: 2017 07 07 Final Sentencing

2017 07 07 Final Sentencing