August 25th Event in Fort Worth
Join us Saturday, August 25th to share your faith with 50 troubled
youth. Times are 9 am to 3 pm and all materials are provided. Confirm
by email to email@example.com
Google directions to:
Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Facility
2701 Kimbo Road
Fort Worth, TX76111-3007
A Man of Faith
Remembering Charles Colson
By Don Smarto
April 23, 2012
never really counted the number of times I had meetings with Charles
Colson, mostly private, until his passing on April 21st. I was amazed
that it was over ninety times, which for a non-PF employee, was
perhaps a record.
We first met in Chicago in 1980 when I was a Volunteer Coordinator
for Prison Fellowship in DuPage County, Illinois (outside Chicago)
I shared a story he never forgot and reminded me about for the next
30 years. I told him I was a Democratic Precinct Captain during
Watergatis response: "Did you repent of your sin?" was
an ongoing satire. When I supported Reagan, years later, he told
me "This is proof of redemption!"
It was more than humor as I came to believe his conversation was
genuine. Mr. Colson was the most reflective and intelligent Christian
I have ever known. I imagine his conversations with C.S. Lewis and
William Wilberforce in heaven.
As the founding director of the Institute of Prison Ministries
in 1983, I met with Chuck formulating how this institute would help
ministries. The first two years, we met 12 times (half with Ken
Wessner, Chairman of the PF Board). My meetings began in the first
warehouse headquarters, then the building beside the mansion, and
eventually the current building.
Mr. Colson was the Keynote speaker at two national conferences
at Wheaton College in 1986 and 1991. I had the privilege of introducing
him and hosting the conferences about prison ministry.
I was honored to have Charles Colson endorse six of my books. In
Justice & Mercy, I said "Mr. Colson elevated prison ministry
in America from step-child to respectable among the White, Middle-Class".
I was with Mr. Colson in London, Milan, and Nairobi. In Africa,
I attended morning devotions with Chuck, Patti, and Cardinal Sin
of Manila for a week.
Our meetings increased when we created the Colson Scholarship for
Ex-Offenders. As the first director, I had the privilege of hearing
from him, these words: "I don't want a statue or my name on
a building, but a living monument- changed lives!" Each year
for 11 years we had a lunch for him and a group photo with the scholars.
For 15 years, I attended the National Prayer Breakfast and Chuck
would ask for a program update in the hotel. Our meetings were usually
in hotel suites to avoid interruptions. Mr. Colson let me know strongly
if he disagreed with one of my ideas. Over the years, I got better
at "reading his mind" and we worked in harmony.
I was with him at the University of Chicago when he received the
Templeton Award and escorted him out a side door and across a street
to a reception. His comments to me demonstrated his humble spirit.
He opened a national prisoner art exhibit at the Billy Graham Center
and opened a massive lock and chain around the pillars in 1986.
We shared a private humorous event the crowd never knew about. He
had a great sense of humor. We laughed about that moment for years.
Mr. Colson expressed an interest in my years in a monastery and
we often talked about the value of contemplation. As his friends
knew, he would discuss many topics, not just prison ministry.
One time when speaking in a Dallas hotel ballroom, he spotted me
and said some gracious things about me to the crowd.
I was most moved by his book Loving God. His message to believers
was clear: You can love the church, love ministry, and love being
religious but still not love God.
He had a great gift as a thinker, was well read, and was perhaps
one of the most intelligent leaders of a Christian ministry in recent
times. A few times, we talked about the works of Augustine; City
of Faith and Confessions. He knew them well.
I had the honor of interviewing him for a Chicago television program
(In Defense of Justice). My last question was "How do you want
to be remembered?" After a short pause, he replied "As
a faithful follower of Jesus Christ." He did not mention his
Marine Corp. service, White House years, books, or honors. (That
interview is in the Archives at the Billy Graham Center in Wheaton)
He was a man of deep faith.
Don to Speak at Dallas Camera Club
will be the featured speaker May 17th at the Dallas Camera Club.
He will show and talk about
his award winning photos. The meeting will be at Parker College
Don To Speak in Colorado
will speak in two juvenile facilities May 21st & May 22nd in
Colorado Springs and Pueblo. He has spoken in both facilities five
The repeat invitations are
Don to Speak at DBA Lunch
will be the featured speaker at the Dallas Baptist Association lunch
for pastors and guests on Monday, June 6th. His presentation is
Witness to Roman Catholics.
The noon meeting will be
at Lakeside Baptist Church in Dallas.
Mart II June 25th
Saturday, June 25th, Youth Direct will present programs at Mart
II near Waco. Volunteers are needed to share the Gospel in the dorm
day rooms. Please
fill out the new TYC form if you have not done so. Volunteers
arrive at 8:45am and will leave at 3:30pm. The facility is in Mart,
The actual name is the McLennan Juvenile Correctional Facility.
DIRECTIONS: Take I 35 South from the Dallas
area to Waco. Turn left onto Us-84 toward Corsicana for 12 miles.
Turn right onto FM 939 for 7 miles. Turn right onto E. Cowan Street
and right onto W. Burleson. The facility address is 116 W. Burleson
Rd., Mart, Texas 76664. Phone 254-297-8200 Fax 254-297-8392.
Don to Speak at Dallas School
Don will give a presentation called Overcoming Obstacles
Eduardo Mata School in Dallas on March 25th. This new presentation
cover both real and imagined obstacles that stifle dreams. Examples
people that accomplished much while overcoming the challenges of
poverty, poor grades, and negative feedback are included.
Don to Speak in Pennsylvania
For ten days, Don will be speaking in churches,
drug programs, prisons,
schools, and juvenile facilities from April 2nd - April 10th. Don
two Training Seminars to volunteers with Yokefellows Prison Ministry.
speak to the residents of Teen Challenge, prisoners in LeHigh Valley
Prison, Cedarbrook Juvenile Detention Facility, and at two services
Family Worship Center in Lansdale. This is Don's 11th evangelism
March 19th - Gainesville Facility
Fifty volunteers are needed for evangelism
at the TYC Texas State Facility for Boys at Gainesville. This Saturday
event begins with the arrival of volunteers at 9am and a program
at 10am in the chapel featuring Lamont Levels, music, and a testimony
followed by lunch and sharing in the cottages. Departure at 3:30
pm. Gainesville is located at 1379 FM 678 north of Dallas (75 miles)
off Interstate 35. Take the Main Street exit into downtown Gainesville
and continue east to facility.
Don to Speak in Florida
Don will speak in several juvenile
facilities January 26th - January29th
with a program about making good decisions and resisting negative
peer pressure. Youth Direct has presented programs twenty
Florida juvenile facilities since 2004.
Don to Speak at Ft. Worth School
Don will give two Creative Writing Seminars February
16th at the
Lucyle Collins Middle School in Fort Worth. These 3 to 4 hour seminars
were developed over a period of six years. Using creative inter-action,
these seminars foster creative talent, which is often undiscovered.
Don to Speak at Dallas Baptist University
Don will present a new PowerPoint Talk called Restoring
students of Professor Sarah Crouch's class on Christian Thought.
on his 32 years working with criminal offenders, Don will focus
use of poetry to restore uniquely human attributes like Reflection,
compassion, Morality, and Conscience to juvenile felons who have
human distinctive on February 2nd.
December 4th McFadden Ranch
Join us Saturday, December 4th as we share with
50 boys at the TYC facility McFadden Ranch in Roanoke, Texas (west
of Grapevine and Southlake) Volunteers should arrive at 9am. There
is a 10am program, lunch, and time to share one on one. We will
leave at 3pm. Please confirm by December 1st. First time volunteers
must fill out application (download from this web) and send no later
than November 29th. Training is required and will be at The Oaks
Baptist Church on December 2nd at 7pm.
Don to Speak at Men's Conference
On November 6th, Don will
speak at the 20-Ten Men's Conference at Westside Baptist Church
in Lewisville. This year's conference theme is Being the Whole Man
of God based on Romans 12.
Don will explore how the
world uses marketing and advertising to convert wants into needs
and how the devil's schemes require vigilance, prayer, and accountability.
Don To Speak at Dallas Theological Seminary
Don will speak on Reaching Troubled Youth with
the Gospel on November 4th to Dr. Jay Sedwick's Christian Education
class. Dr. Sedwick was Don's radio guest last Spring and Don spoke
to the class in 2009.
Don to Preach at Baptist Church
Don will speak at the combined services at the Dallas
church Primera Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida (New Life) on October
31, 2010 at 10am. It is a bilingual service with an interpreter
for those who only speak Spanish.
Don's topic will be Thirty-Two Years Working With
Troubled Youth (Anos Trabajando con Delincuentes). All are welcome.
Don to Speak in Lubbock Schools
Due to the popularity of Don's new book, he will
present Photography and Creative Writing Seminars in Middle Schools
and High Schools in Lubbock, Texas on October 27th.
Don has spoken in Lubbock schools for five consecutive
years with enthusiastic responses from students and from teachers.
to Speak at Stults Baptist Church
Don will be the speaker Sunday, November 14th at the 10:30 am service
at the Stults Baptist Church in Dallas. He will talk about the power
of God to change even the worst criminal heart and transform "lost
sheep" into disciples of Christ, All are welcome to attend
this service of praise and thanksgiving of His grace.
to Speak in Michigan
Don will be the featured speaker at a conference
on Prisoner Reentry in Flint, Michigan on October 16, 2010. His
book Keeping Ex-Offenders Free continues to be used extensively
by churches and prison ministries nationwide (see Resources).
Don spoke on this subject at a 2007 White House Conference and at
the Texas Association of Probation And Parole Officers in Galveston,
Texas in 2009.
Don to Speak in Denton County
November 17th and 18th Don will present his
Creative Writing Workshop to youth in the TARMAC program in Lewisville.
A program of the Denton County Juvenile Probation Department, the
program is aimed at reducing the number of youth who dropout of
school and committ new offenses.
Don to Speak in Florida
Don will speak to youth in
the Pompano Substance Abuse Program for boys 13-18. Operated by
a private foundation, it is part of the Florida Juvenile Justice
The boys are in this secure
facility from 6-9 months.
Youth Direct to Host OSL
national leaders from Prison Fellowship, Navigators, International
Bible Society (Biblica), Billy Graham Association, Awana, Campus
Crusade, Child Evangelism Fellowship, Evangelism Explosion, Billy
Graham Center, Jobs for Life, Good News Jail & Prison Ministry,
Crossroad Bible Institute, One Hope and many more ministries will
come to Dallas October 12th for an all day meeting hosted by Youth
Direct Ministries. Speaker Lamont Levels and Gospel singer Craig
O'Dell will provide inspiration through testimony and music. Youth
Direct has been a proud member of Operation Starting Line since
Ministry leaders gathered together to discuss all facets of prison
ministry at the OSL meeting held at Sam Pack's Auto Museum
Don will be in the Chicago WMBI studio October 19th
as the guest of Chris Fabry on the national show Chris Fabry Live!
The one hour show at 2pm Central Time includes interaction
from callers. Chris was host of the popular Open Line radio show
from 1985 - 1997.
Don was a guest on Open Line several times.
Chris received the "Talk Personality of the
Year Award" in 2008 from the National Religious Broadcasters
Association. Chris is also a gifted author.
To learn more about Chris, go to www.chrisfabry.com.
The ministry has new polyester lanyards with IDs
for our volunteers. All volunteers may keep them but are encouraged
to bring them to events to control ministry expenses. We are grateful
to Dr. Tommy & Naomi Sessums for this gift!
The ministry has two new resources for our
volunteers, a Bible laminated bookmark with MINISTRY STANDARDS on
one side and SECURITY GUIDELINES on the reverse side. Also new is
the SCRIPTURES FOR SALVATION bookmark with important themes for
teenagers on the reverse side. Volunteers may keep these valuable
resources or purchase additional copies at cost.
NEW EXCITING DVD AVAILABLE!
Smarto has presented his testimony with unique visuals to over 100,000
people in churches and schools across America. Now, for the first
time, this dynamic presentation The Youngest Brother is available
on DVD. This digitally mastered program includes sound effects,
music, and 500 photos, some seen for the first time. This is a powerful,
true story that has received critical acclaim. The DVD is a great
companion to the book Family Secrets and the Audio Book, too. Don
is an expert storyteller and delivers this presentation with captivating
facts and Biblical applications. Share this modern day parable with
your teens, in a church group, or in a Christian school. Go to Resources
to get your copy today. The PG Rating advises parents that some
themes and visuals may not be acceptable for small children.
here to buy now
Don Smarto Wins Two Angel Awards
the second consecutive year, producer Don Smarto has won the 2010
©Angel Award for two media productions, the documentary film
The Youngest Brother and the audio book, Mended by God.
In 2009, Smarto won the ©Angel
Award for his book Mended by God. The judges believed "this
audio book maintains the quality of the book with a high standard
of editing and professionalism. The story of Tony Pack is enhanced
by this production and deserves this recognition."
The documentary The Youngest
Brother "tells a dramatic story of crime without the gratuitous
violence seen in media today. The message will inspire people."
The ©Angel Award is given
by the Excellence in Media organization "honoring works of
outstanding moral, ethical, and social impact."
Nominated media are judged
by members of The Los Angeles Press Club, National Association of
Broadcasters, National Association for Community and Family Education,
and the Hollywood Press Club. Individual judges are people with
"expertise and are outstanding in the media field."
Previous ©Angel Award
winners have been Tom Hanks, Bill Cosby, Steve Martin, Art Linkletter,
Randy Travis, George Burns, and Roy Rogers. Past documentary films
awarded the ©Angel Award have included March of the Penguins
and An Inconvient Truth. Previous films awarded the ©Angel
Award have included Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter
And The Goblets of Fire, The Lion King, Forest Gump,
Entries from Russia, Israel, Japan, and Great Britain
were considered in addition to the United States. EMI considers
small producers as eligible as the major studios.
BOOK WINS AWARD!
Excellence in Media Award (Angel Award TM) was given to the book
Mended by God; The Tony Pack Story. Accepting the 2009 Silver Angel
honor was the book's author, Don Smarto.
This is the author's ninth book, and his first book to receive an
Excellence in Media Award. The award is reviewed by an expert panel
of judges representing The National Association of Broadcasters,
American Women in Radio & Television, The Greater Los Angeles
Press Club, and The National Association of Family & Community
here to read more
TARRANT COUNTY SEPTEMBER 18th
September 18th, volunteers will share their faith with
boys and girls in the Tarrant County Detention Facility. Special
guests, Marshall Allen (career fire fighter), Lamont Levels (started
a Dallas gang
at age 12), and Keron Jackson (Broadway musical singer) are just
few of the performers who will speak and perform for the youth.
First time volunteers must fill out an application and Fax to
Marshall Allen Story
recent guest on the ministry radio program Parenting Today's Youth
has struck a chord with our listeners.
Marshall Allen was a heroic firefighter who in a freak accident
became paralyzed in all four limbs. By clicking Resources,
you will find those interviews available for purchase. Our programs
have had some very dynamic guests and these interviews will inspire
and help many.
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 tough times.
Marshall will be speaking in a juvenile facility with Youth Direct
in several months. We are confident he will have a great impact
on the youth.
And you can hear his story by going to Resources
and using PayPal.
Allan Dee, Melvin Adams, Don Smarto, Brandon,
Jacob Hope (L - R)
COSICANNA FACILITY May 22nd
Our volunteers will again have the opportunity
to share their faith with several hundred boys (and a unit of girls)
at the TYC facility in Corsicana. This 351 acre complex began in
1889 as an orphanage and is today a secure facility for sentenced
youth with emotional difficulties. Melvin Adams will be on the program
along with former gang leader Lamont Levels. Sign up early for this
important event. TYC Corsicana, 4000 W. 2nd Street, Corsicana, TX
75110 (903 875-3200)
11Th Annual Pennsylvania
Tour April 16th-26th
will speak in churches, juvenile facilities, schools, jails, and
drug programs in over 18 Pennsylvania cities in April. Coordinated
by Wayne Benjamin (Youth Direct Volunteer of the Year 2009) this
will be his eleventh straight year. In addition to sermons and banquet
messages, Don will present his informative Civil War Presentation
in a Civil War museum, his stimulating Writing Seminar in an alternative
school and juvenile detention center, and his Stress Management
Seminar to prison ministry volunteers and leaders. Don will speak
and train as often as five times a day for the nine days of his
tour. Prayers for safe travel, health, and a strong speaking voice
Marzelle Hill March 20th
ministry is welcome back to the Marzelle Hill facility in March.
The "Hill" as it is known is a program of the Dallas County
There are fifty-four boys for residential transitional care there.
Following a program, volunteers will have the opportunity to talk
in small groups and share their faith. The number of volunteers
will be limited so it is essential that people who sign up are sure
of their commitment. "No shows" would reduce the number
sharing their faith. The "Hill" is located off I 30 at
the Henry Wade Juvenile Justice Center, 2600 Lone Star Drive, Dallas
75212 (214 698-2200)
TARRANT COUNTY FEBRUARY 13TH
Juvenile Detention in Tarrant County, Fort Worth,
Texas has extended an invitation to Youth Direct. Chaplain Mike
Brown is coordinating this event with new staff member Kevin Cook.
More information including directions will be available, soon. Mark
the date in your calendar.
MART JANUARY 23rd
The new year begins with the Texas Reception
Center in Mart (near Waco) from 9am - 3pm we will be with boys who
have just entered the state system and need God's power to heal
anger, overcome depression, renounce drugs, and gang violence.
Performers will include MELVIN
ADAMS and KERON JACKSON. Keron is new
to our ministry. He has a powerful voice and a captivating testimony.
The youth will appreciate
this program and a visit from our volunteers. If this is your first
time, fill out the application (on this web page) and fax to 972
CHICAGO YOUTH EVANGELISM
was the 9th consecutive year Youth Direct conducted evangelistic
programs in Illinois youth facilities (prisons). 16 volunteers joined
us to share encouragement, Scriptures, prayer, and their faith with
juvenile prisoners. The program included Larry Howard from Georgia
who has recorded 18 albums and performed in 500 prisons. His expert
guitar skills and rich voice blended into a unique style of blues
music that captured their attention. Athletes Yago Williams and
Greg Molchan, members of the Conquerors Strength Team, performed
feats of strength that included tearing phone books, bending a horse
shoe, lifting people holding a bar, and bending a steel bar held
in their teeth. In addition, Yago shared his past which included
being a street fighter, drug dealer, and nightclub bouncer and his
transformation in Christ. Don Smarto shared his testimony and a
new Powerpoint on Making Good Choices. At the end of each program,
Don gave the inmates an opportunity to make a profession of faith
in Jesus and a second prayer to make Jesus the Lord of their life.
In every facility, at each program, a majority of prisoners raised
their hands, for which we praise God!
RANCH DECEMBER 5th
Fifty boys at the TYC facility McFadden Ranch in
Roanoke, Texas will have a program and visits from trained volunteers.
Arrival time is 9 am. We will leave the facility at 3 pm. Please
sign up by November 27th or call 972 572-8336 and leave a call back
MART SEPTEMBER 19th
are needed for an event in the TYC facility in Mart, Texas, eastof
Waco. Several hundred boys and girls will attend programs in the
gym. Volunteers will have opportunities to share their faith in
the day rooms. Arrival time is 9 am. At 3:30 pm we will close with
a sharing and prayer time and leave the facility at 4 pm. First
time volunteers are encouraged to attend a training session and
fax a signed application to (972) 572 8335 which can be downloaded
from this web site.
DIRECTIONS: Take I 35 South from the Dallas area to Waco. Turn left
onto Us-84 toward Corsicana for 12 miles. Turn right onto FM 939
for 7 miles. Turn right onto E. Cowan Street and right onto W. Burleson.
The facility address is 116 W. Burleson Rd., Mart, Texas 76664
RETURN TO COLORADO
Don will give three presentations in Colorado juvenile
facilities this summer through Kelly Barlow, a dynamic juvenile
prison ministry leader who set up the events in Pueblo and Colorado
Springs. The minstry had events in Colorado in 2005 and 2008. The
Juvenile Justice System of Colorado has always made Youth Direct
Don shares his
story with 10,000 youth each year
8th Visit to Pennsylvania
Don will speak in juvenile and adult prisons, churches,
at youth rallies and provide training for ministry professionals
in over 15 Pennsylvania cities between April 17th - April 28th.
This is his eighth evangelistic trip to Pennsylvania.
Wayne Benjamin coordinates these events.
For exact details check www.yokefellowspa.org.
FAITHFUL VOLUNTEER JOINS STAFF
Cook, a faithful volunteer and Youth Direct Camp counselor joins
our staff as Director of Event Logistics. His focus is often on
youth with learning disorders and troubled backgrounds. Kevin has
been one of Youth Direct's most active volunteers for over six years
and was a counselor at two Youth Direct summer camps at Eagle Mountain
Lake. He has hit the road running by establishing contact with a
new facility in Fort Worth. See his full background on the STAFF
page. We welcome, Kevin!
Don Appointed Chairman
Don was recently appointed Chairman
of the Operation Starting Line Outreach Committee.
The committee will recommend evangelism strategies
for reaching juveniles, women inmates, minority offenders, and families.
Composed of prison ministry leaders from across the country, the
committee meets by phone conference each month. OSL is a collaboration
of over 20 national ministries including Prison Fellowship, Navigators,
International Bible Society, The Billy Graham Organization, and
Youth Direct is a proud member of Operation
Starting Line. For more information about OSL go to the Prison Fellowship
The recent photo was taken at the Washington
DC meeting in October with Mark Early (President of PF) presiding.
Don is in the second row (fourth from the left).
May 23rd Gainesville
Join us Saturday May 23rd from 9am - 4pm at
Gainesville TYC School.
This will be a great opportunity to share with over 250 boys.
Training to be announced
the week before at Westside Baptist Church and downtown Dallas.
time volunteers Fax application to 972-572-8335.
Volunteer of the Year
Benjamin is voted our "Most Dedicated Volunteer of 2009".
At age 79, Wayne continues to be active in prison ministry. Last
Fall he drove 2000 miles to be with our team in Chicago.
In the past, Wayne has joined
us in Florida and other states. For the eighth year (April 2009)
Don will speak in churches, schools, jails, and juvenile facilities
in over 15 towns and cities in Pennsylvania.
Each year, Wayne has coordinated
these visits and attended every event. The ministry is so grateful
to Wayne for his dedication. He also coordinates the Lehigh Valley
chapter of Yokefellows Prison Ministry. Wayne is living proof that
there is no retirement from Christian service.
Wayne inspires all that meet
him and work with him. Countless prisoners and juvenile offenders
are saved today because of his leadership, volunteer training, and
evangelism. We applaud Wayne for all he has done for Youth Direct
Ministries. We pray for many more years of partnership.
Jacob Hope, Brillant Drummer, Joins Ministry
known as J-DOG to youth, recently played on programs in Oklahoma
in June and the Dallas Youth Village in August.
The youth were mesmerized
by his skills from Stomp Style on pots & pans to a Buddy Rich
style solo on his elaborate drum set.
He will play at Crocket and
is a welcome addition to our very talented performers. Come hear
him in person!
Tony Pack with
Harry McClintok, Chairman of the Board of the Dallas Lighthouse
for the Blind
Donation for the Blind
Our Chairman, Tony Pack donated
100 sets of the new Mended by God Audio Book to the Dallas Lighthouse
for the Blind.
The organization expressed
their gratitude and many blind individuals will hear the drama and
inspiration of the story.
The audio book is now available
on Amazon.com and this web
Corsicana, Saturday, February 28th
9am to 3:30pm our volunteers will share with
the boys and girls in the TYC facility in Corsicana, Texas. Performers
include Melvin Adams, Brandon, GRACE Singers and Alan Dee.
45 minutes south of Dallas,
this will be a great day of faith sharing and blessings. New volunteers
need to mail or FAX the 2009
Application. Training locations will be announced. 75 male &
female volunteers are needed.
God will bless you for helping
a young person find a new direction in life!
Blessings at Youth Village
51 volunteers shared with 86 boys at the Dallas
Youth Village August 16th. A new vocal group GRACE did a wonderul
job getting spirits up.
As always, Alan Ward mesmerized
the youth with his illusions, and new performer Jacob Hope was outstanding
with his great percussion skills.
Many boys accepted Christ
Over 55 volunteers attended an event at Crockett
State School in November. The superintendent and chaplain joined
us for a group photo.
This was the seventh year Youth Direct shared
the Gospel in Chicago area juvenile prisons. The Lord blessed our
efforts and guided us through storms. Once in Chicago, we were the
guests of Awana International in Streamwood with clean and comfortable
rooms. We then criss-crossed the Chicago area traveling 530 miles
in 5 days. Click here to read the full
five exciting days in Chicago area juvenile prisons, with 7 hours
at home, I went directly to Denver to go into three facilities as
part of the Operation Starting Line outreach. OSL is a collaboration
of over 25 ministries working together to bring the Gospel to prisoners
across America. Since 2001, Youth Direct has been a full collaborator
conducting events in 62 juvenile facilities in 9 states. The ministry
was in Colorado in 2005. Click here to
read the full report.
Melvin Adams to Perform
Adams captured the attention of the youth at Crockett State School
Melvin's combination of humor
and basketball skills are always a hit with youth.
Over 55 volunteers joined
performers Brandon (Hip Hop Artist), Jacob Hope (Drummer), Alan
Dee (Illusionist), and Don Smarto (sharing his family story).
The hospitality was great
as the superintendent served a lavish meal of grilled chicken, brisket,
and sausage to the volunteers.
Although several units went
into lockdown, many seeds were planted.
In December, a program will
be presented at McFadden Ranch for 55 boys.
White House Supports Faith-Based
President Bush recently received a 2007 report
on the White House Conference on Prisoner Reentry. Don was a speaker
at that conference (November 2007) on the subject of Juvenile Reentry.
He was introduced as One of Americas front line experts.
The President strongly supports volunteers and faith-based organizations
that work with prisoners and ex-offenders. As Governor of Texas,
he supported faith-based units in Texas prisons
here for a complete calendar of events.