Heaven in a Wildflower Receives International Recognition
In New York City in July 2015, Don received an International Photo Award for portraits in his book Heaven in a Wildflower.
were 5,117 entries from 62 countries. Don won 2nd Place Award. Two of
his photos will be displayed in the Heritage Museum in Malaga, Spain
September - November 2015.
Don said: "I am humbled and grateful for this honor. I thank God because all gifts come from Him"
Heaven in a Wildflower
After three years of research and writing, Frontline Press has released Don’s 13th book; Heaven in a Wildflower.
This epic work is an amazing collection of color photos, scripture and
text. What makes this book different from others and so riveting is the
depth of the material; an irrefutable argument for intelligent design
and a Creator’s imprint.
This deluxe hardback
coffee table book is a value at just $29.95 and all proceeds go to
ministry to troubled youth. This book makes a great gift, also.
Examine the book for yourself to realize the beauty and depth of a book you will long treasure.
Don's Book Recognized
The text, design and photos in Don's book Italia was recognized with a special award.
McFadden Ranch-December 7th
us Saturday at this state facility, as we minister to 50 boys there.
This is our last event of the year. The open setting always makes this
a good experience for volunteers. If you intend to participate you must
email Don no later than December 3rd at firstname.lastname@example.org
Father & Son Bonding Book
12th book, Italia; A Father & Son Journey, has just been
released. The trip is a metaphor for father and son bonding.
Many readers have been moved by the story. With over 200 full
color photos, this "coffee table" book is a $60
value priced at $22. Order today and receive a free CD of
an 80 minute interview with the author. Order the book by
contacting Don at email@example.com.
Here is what people are saying:
"Italia: A Father and Son Journey by Don Smarto
is a one of a kind book. The story line follows a father in
his sixties and a son in his thirties who take a trip to Italy.
Part of the intriguing plot is that this father has broken
many of the generation sins that had been placed on him, through
God’s help, Don was able to pass blessings onto his son.
Don demonstrates for every father that you can touch the heart
of your son at any age.
This book has something for everyone. A great story line
for the reader. Detailed history for those enjoy the past.
Pictures for kids and adults alike to marvel at. Italian recipes
for the aspiring cook.
You won’t regret time spent in this book" -
Dr. Heath Marion, Pastor
"I have several books of photos depicting the glories
of Italy, but none comes close to measuring up to yours. You
did a magnificent job!
The script is a magnificent expression of who you are,
and demonstrates your commitment to God’s Kingdom and
the gospel." - Dr. Tony Campolo, Author & Sociologist
"Don Smarto’s latest book titled "Italia,
A Father & Son Journey" has something for everyone.
At first look it, it appears to appeal to fathers and sons
of all ages which it certainly does well. However you can
imagine my surprise when my wife grabbed it out of my hands
and said, "Me First!" She was drawn to the beautiful
photographs of architecture that reminded her of her journey
through Italy in her younger years. She was also captivated
by "Mama's Recipes" that provided her with her next
culinary challenge that will transition her from the science
of cooking to the art. That was enough for her to begin reading
the account of Don's and Luke's journey through the old country.
I got my chance to read, it was clear from the beginning that
this was not just a journey through the streets of Italy,
it was a father's journey through the heart of his son. As
Don shares the history of his ancestors, you feel as though
you are there with he and Luke as they explore both the famous
and the obscure places of ancient Italy. This includes churches,
paintings, sculptures and the tender father and son exchange
that go with it. The breathtaking photographs are spellbinding
with such color radiance and clarity that one becomes entranced.
As I paged through Don's book, I heard the whispers of
Malachi's last words in the Old Testament, "And he shall
turn the heart of the fathers to the children..." (Malachi
4:6a) and I know Don heard it too. "- Dominic
Herbst, Clinical Psychologist
"Italia warmed my heart. What a beautiful
book. It is a legacy to families. I love this book!"
- Raeanne Hance, Prison Fellowship State Director
"I was truly touched by this book. I have never seen
anything quite like it; a father-son travelogue and memoir
celebrating God's gift of life!" - Dr. Phil Ryken,
President, Wheaton College
"What a beautiful book! Your book about father and
son bonding makes the point as well as any I've seen. You
pulled out all the stops to produce and incredible piece of
work. It is emotional and powerful." - Paul Heidebrecht,
Christian Leader and Author
"Don’t be fooled by the diary-like title of
Don Smarto’s newest book, Italia: A Father and Son
Journey. It’s so much more than that. Don expertly
weaves stories of historical interest, references to films,
and applications of theological concepts as the reader follows
in the footsteps of this 15-day Italian adventure with his
son, Luke. Part reminiscence of his childhood as the son and
grandson of Italian immigrants, part self-exploration of his
relationship with Luke, and part travel guide, cookbook, and
photographic record, Don draws the reader in with his masterful
prose and mouth-watering descriptions of Italian food that
will have you planning a trip to Italy on your own. His sensitively-framed
photographs are unlike any you’ve seen in travel books
or postcards. This book is a must-have for the photographs
alone, but don’t miss the stories behind them and the
lessons learned as father and son create special memories
together." - Sarah Crouch, Author and Professor
Also available, a CD of the author interviewed about the
book. It is 80 minutes and only $3.
Herbst Seminars Bring Real Recovery
know therapist, Dominic Herbst, has been a frequent and popular
guest on the ministry radio program Parenting Today's Youth.
Visit his web site for opportunities in your city and to join
seminars by phone and video conference. Dominic says "the
root of all psychological and emotional problems are spiritual".
That is why secular programs and "pop" psychology
fail. If you have or know of anyone with relationship problems,
these seminars are essential. Visit restoringrelationships.org
or sign up for their proven materials and at home sessions
via webcast. Youth Direct endorses this excellent source of
true Christian counseling. Here are services the Bethesda
Personal Interactive Webcast
We offer personal webcasts to take you and/or your family
through The Four Steps To Emotional Healing. You will not
have to leave your home for this personal and individualized
healing journey. Call us today at 570-523-0605 to find out
how we can lead you to victory and restoration.
Private In-Home Family Restoration
There is no better place to heal relational conflict and restore
precious family relationships than in the privacy of your
own home. It is completely private, deeply personal and totally
confidential. Call 570-523-0605.
You owe it to yourself, your spouse, and children to seek
true healing of the emotional baggage we carry. "I wish
every juvenile facility in America used these effective materials.
Crime would drop. Families would be healed and we could begin
closing juvenile prisons!", says Youth Direct President,
Collin Creek Counseling Services
Thomas L. Sessums, PhD
Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor
Youth Direct receives many requests for counseling. For those
in the Dallas area we recommend the Clinical Counseling Center
located at the Collin Creek Church in Plano. Call for an appointment
at 214 215 2867 or check www.collincreek.org
Following are some of the issues they have expertise with:
Marriage & Family Therapy
Child & Adolescent Therapy
Crisis & Abuse Therapy
Substance Abuse & Addiction Therapy
Sexual Abuse, Addiction & Disorders
Family Violence & Abuse
All new volunteers are required to fill out and mail the
Volunteer Application. All questions must be answered
and the form signed, before you can join us for an event.
PARENTING TODAY'S YOUTH
- NOW "ON DEMAND"
seven years, the popular and well received radio program Parenting
Today's Youth is available ON DEMAND. Just go to WBAP.com
and enter the keyword: family.
At no charge, you can download programs into
your IPhone, IPod, or computer.
Each week, five programs will be offered.
With the continued sponsorship of Five Star Ford, new dynamic
guests, including teachers, authors, pychologists, and other
experts will give valuable information to parents grandparents,
This is an important program for the whole
and enter keyword: family Listen ON DEMAND
We are pleased to announce the
new streamlined edition of the powerful book Mended by God
with a new ending written by Tony Pack. Sales benefit our
outreach to youth.
See the video below and visit
resources to obtain a copy.
RE-RELEASE OF AWARD WINNING FILM
16 years, the new Director's Cut of A Pale Horse is being
released on DVD along with the dynamic soundtrack.
Acclaimed for its use
of atmospheric low key lighting, the film won over 9 awards
at film festivals nationwide.
With a riveting and
chilling performance by Jeannette Clift George (The Hiding
Place) this PG-13 rated film is based on a true story.
two years of writing, Don Smarto has completed his tenth book.
Heart of the Young
Gladiator is an essay about the incarcerated youth Don
taught Creative Writing to. He chose the best poetry and prose
from the youth. Clearly, these young people have talent that
in many cases the school system did not discover or encourage
or "labels" defeated their spirit.
The reader will enjoy
this varied collection of humor, insight, loneliness, and
faith. You will discover, as Don did, the creativity and potential
of these young men.
This promises to be one
of the most powerful and exciting books released about the
hope for change in delinquents. (click Resources
to order your copy)
Consider giving a CD on PARENTING, GRIEF,
HEALING EMOTIONAL WOUNDS, MARRIAGE, ABUSE, EVANGELISM, and
many more topics to a friend or family member going through
Don Wins International Award
was one of 34 photographers awarded from over 1,024 entries
from 45 countries for the photographs in his book Heart
of the Young Gladiator.
The award was announced in York, England ,
February 1, 2011.
His photos will appear in the book Storyteller
by WonderPick Publishing.
Previous winners have been Tom Hanks, Bill
Cosby, Steve Martin, Art Linkletter, Randy Travis, George
Burns, Pat Boone and Roy Rogers.
Don has tied Billy Graham (Worldwide Pictures)
for the most awards given to one person.
here to read the entire press release from the Excellence
in Media organization.
Tony Campolo Praises New Book
September 22, 2010, author and international Speaker Tony
Campolo said "Heart of the Young Gladiator looks brilliant.
The photographs of the young men were incredibly moving. I
hope this book sells well. It could do a lot of good for the
Kingdom if it gets out there where people can get hold of
McDowell Recommends New Book
On October 7th, acclaimed author and
international speaker endorsed Don's new book. "Heart
of the Young Gladiator is a great resource! I enjoyed the
book. Thank you so much for sharing this book.
FREE BEHIND BARS By Don Smarto
Are some prisoners authentic Christians? Are
some inmates freer than some church people?
first glance, these questions seem simplistic. Those in Prison
Ministry know many offenders are authentic Christians. But
how can a man or woman behind walls, razor ribbon, bars, and
heavy metal doors be more free than people in the “free
The answer begins with a key Scripture, John
8:36 “If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed”.
In a later passage, Jesus relates the freedom he is talking
about to truth. We tend to think in black and white; either
we are captive or have freedom. But Jesus was not talking
about mobility. Paul was free although in prison. John was
free although in exile.
and his work with troubled youth was a feature story in the
October 10th edition of the Dallas Morning News.
The story was on the front page of the Sunday
edition, written by reporter Jon Neilson who visited with
Don several times at the Youth Direct headquarters in Duncanville
and accompanied him when he spoke to incarcerated youth and
when he conducted a Writing Seminar in a Texas Youth Commission
facility. The story referenced Don's new book Heart of the
Young Gladiator . The story also related how Don overcame
his own family crimes to go to college and inspire other young
boys to reach their potential.
Midwest Review of New Book
Blake's review of Heart of the Young Gladiator was published
in the Midwest Book Review.
Mr. Blake wrote: "Don Smarto takes the
reader behind the scenes of juvenile correctional facilities
and into the minds and hearts of incarcerated gang members.The
book includes 55 poems and 40 photos of prisoners. The poems
are authentic, simple, original, and imaginative marked by
a fierce individuality that resonate the inner being of the
soul. The still photos are captivating."
The Genuine Change Agent By Don Smarto
many years I have been perplexed by people's criticism of
the criminal justice system in one specific area. It takes
the form of this basic question: Why doesn't the system
change criminals? Implied is a change for the better,
meaning transformation into a stable citizen and law abiding
person. The disapproval is aimed at Prisons, Probation, and
Parole in particular.
If we define criminal behavior as sin, the
work of regeneration never has been and never will be the
work of any secular government agency but of the Holy Spirit,
and it is the role of the Church to restore a sinner through
Salvation, confession, repentance, prayer, discipleship, and
accountability, which is to say as an instrument of God's
three decades of working professionally with delinquent youth,
I have seen many well intentioned people fail. There is often
"God talk" and emotion but working with minors requires
a higher vigilance and degree of professionalism. One incident
of physical abuse, sexual misconduct, or neglect is enough
to shatter a ministry permanently, not to mention criminal
charges and a civil law suit. Many "wilderness"
programs have "hit the Press" in the past ten years.
The papers are in the business of selling papers and will
rarely back off from an opportunity to expose a ministry that
has been irresponsible.
The "Best of" Parenting Today's
Youth Now Available The
radio ministry of Youth Direct has produced 1000 programs.
Many wonderful guests have been interviewed. Now, some of
the best programs are available on CD at very reasonable prices.
From interviews with Josh McDowall talking about why youth
are not accepting basic church doctrine, to Dr. Jim Denison
discussing the real threats from radical Islam, and Judge
Grace Lewis reflecting on the origins of crime, plus many
more guests and subjects, these CDs will be a significant
addition to your library. Redeem your commute time in traffic,
listen from your PC or I Pod on a plane trip, or play at home
for spiritual growth and information. The interviews are lively
and engaging and filled with useful facts. Whether you are
a student, pastor, or parent, there is something for everyone
in these recordings. Each CD is only $5.00 (plus shipping
Visit the RESOURCES page to purchase
several, today. You can safely use your credit card using
Is The Door Closing? By Don Smarto
For many years, I heard
prison ministry leaders talk at conferences about the "open
door in prison ministry". That was back in the 1980's.
They were right. The open door was an unprecedented accessibility
of faith based programs into the prisons, jails, and juvenile
facilities of America.
There were several reasons.
Many wardens and superintendents were Christians and bold
about their faith. As an example, Norm Carlson the Director
of the Federal Bureau of Prisons would welcome Charles Colson
and ex-offenders into his Washington, DC office with discussions
about the role of faith in regeneration. Chaplains were often
strong evangelicals like Harry Howard of San Quentin, Manny
Craig of Leavenworth, Al Worthly of Springfield, and Emmett
Solomon of the Texas Department of Corrections.
has created a new seminar Planning Adult & Juvenile
Reentry. This dynamic Powerpoint incorporates the
latest research and Don's personal travels to view over 200
aftercare programs in 25 states.
He presents model programs in Pennsylvania,
Georgia, Florida, Arizona, California, Missouri, North Carolina,
and Texas. The seminar presents ideas on ex-offenders keeping
jobs, accountability, learning styles, and experiencing community.
Elaborating on the ideas in his books: Keeping
Ex-Offenders Free, Faith-Based Mentoring, and Lost & Found,
Don gives practical examples of why some juvenile and adult
ex-offenders succeed and why others fail.
This is an important presentation for correctional
professionals, prison ministries, and churches that mentor
and work with ex-offenders.
Don presented this seminar at the Texas Corrections
Association Annual Conference in Galveston in June.
For thirty years, I have closely observed
the restoration of criminal offenders. Christians in particular,
embrace the power of God to change people who were criminals
through the stages of remorse, repentance, reconciliation,
and forgiveness. People of faith believe all sins can be pardoned
and (with the exception of doubting the Holy Spirit's ability
to cause that change) they consider no sin is beyond God's
mercy and grace.
Now, this is a theological exposition of Biblical
truth, but I do not always observe this mercy in the hearts
of all people when it comes to sexual offenders. As a society,
America does not practice the old axiom: "Time served
pays your debt to society". As a matter of fact, the
punishment phase continues for sexual offenders after release
in the form of banishment, heightened observation, prejudice,
mapping, community alerts, and Internet postings.
Bible Studies for Adult and Juvenile
Prisoners By Don Smarto
Bible studies in jails and juvenile facilities
are important for discipleship and evangelism for the "almost
persuaded". A new Christian needs direction, and a systematic
course of study.
"Bible Study" sounds good but I
have witnessed prisoners fascinated by the Book of Revelation
yet combining the truths of that book with new age philosophy
and the prophecy of Nostradamus. The imagery and metaphors
are rich but Revelation should be reserved for Bible Study
Grad School. Most prisoners were unchurched growing up and
are biblically illiterate. They require the basics (Elementary
Education) of the Gospel of John, for example. Read
In 2011, Lives Will
This year join our dedicated volunteers and impact troubled
and lost youth with the power of the Gospel. Fill out the
(on this web site) and check our SCHEDULE.
We will provide training.
Want to see a Youth Direct program? Come to
our March 6th event in Grand Prairie.
Youth & Families Conference In Austin in November, Don gave a presentation
on Helping Youth with Mental illness in the Juvenile Justice
System. An article from his presentation can be dowloaded
from the web site. This is an important subject and one
seen as a stigma and often met with denial. Please
read this important article.
Faith-Based Mentoring This
new book by Don Smarto is a practical manual for mentoring
troubled and delinquent youth. The book has 51 separate subject
headings with applications for adult mentors. The book is
Important features include
supplemental training guides, a bibliography, and a profile
of an incarcerated Texas youth.
As Don's eighth , it
comes from his experiences having mentored 12 young men, each
for one year and his observations from years of research and
study of programs across America.
There are 1700 mentoring
programs in America but few that have a biblical world-view.
The author believes that a faith based approach leads to lasting
change and suggests that the building of trust and relationships
( which take 1-5 years ) is preferred over short term measurement
like reduction in truancy and better grades.
The book is priced at
$12.95 each (+ $2.50 shipping and handling). Prison or Youth
Ministries receive a discount for a box of twenty books.
ORDERS: Youth Direct
PO Box 764499
Dallas, Texas 75376
The new writing seminars for incarcerated
youth are being received with enthusiasim. Seminars are scheduled
for McFadden Ranch and San Saba. Don will read selected writings
on his daily radio show Parenting Today’s Youth, 100.7
FM, at 8pm. Invite your friends to listen to our radio ministry.