SOLUM Community Transformation Initiative

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Monthly Archives: May 2015

Transformation: It Happens To Me First

Honestly, when I began working with Community Supervision to teach classes it was for the wrong reasons.  Desiring a way to reach fractured families and build a local congregation, the opportunity posed by the county seemed like a good entry point.  A Life Skills class needed taught effectively and I had access to the materials and expertise in use across the nation in the Department of Justice / Department of Corrections.  I fully expected we would teach some lightly attended classes, gain more knowledge of the local community, and get busy back with church work.  Boy was I wrong.rayschange

Healing fractured families is all I expected it to be and more. Simultaneous to developing and delivering the classes, we involved ourselves in other initiatives.  Training for On My Shoulders, PREP Parenting, Within My Reach, PREP singles, and PREP, couples communication was engaged.  Each of these took an investment of a full week of training.  Certification in DCPI, Dynamic Church Planters International, was accomplished and two groups of urban ministers were trained in effective community engagement.  Research in Compassion Power, a strongly successful anger management and batterer’s intervention approach revealed key insights.  Finally, certification through the Aha! Process in Getting Ahead, a system of assisting impoverished in building new mindsets was achieved.  Really, the last two years were the equivalent of a masters in Making It Happen For Others.

As a business professional and entrepreneur and corporate fix it man, understanding first and fixing later has become a style.  It works.  Really get under the covers and find the mechanical design and issues before attempting adjustments to timing and operation.  Part of our growth curve has also been to understand the world of grants and funding and what works and what to avoid.  Part has been to understand the world of those we help.  To be a solution provider in cultural shift and community transformation you must “Get up off of your curb and sit down on the curb of another.

Next, comes the hard part.  Getting a good board that is involved and informed will be a primary success factor for changing Cooke County.  Leadership means commitment from the local community.  We are not there yet. We want a mix of fresh and fixture.  Some need to bring new ideas and approaches.  Others are needed to understand and intersect with the current status quo of the county.  Change is a long tailed enterprise.  Transformation takes time.

Then, the most informative action has been the work itself.  It would be wrong to call what we do classes.  That is a component.  That is the foundation.  But the work is relationship.  It moves from teacher to mentor to friend.  We have woven ourselves into the fabric of the community and developed deep and caring relationships with some.  That was intentional and surprising.  A viable and sustainable initiative must engage in long term relational structure.  Sustainability is important to us.  The relationship is both with those that come for training and those that have come alongside as community facilitators.  A team is forming that provides continuance and opens options for the Transformers.

Transformers is how we refer to students, clients, clientele, attendees, or whatever term suits you.  Transformers suits me.  They are transformational with their lives, the lives of their families and friends, and with the entire community.  They cause ripple impacts at work, at home, at school, and in the community.  They are Transformers.

Make no mistake.  CTI is not a PMO. We are a PCO.  PMO stands for Poverty Maintenance Organization.  There is a place for this and it is a good place.  Need food?  Here is food.  Need rent?  Here is rent.  Need a class?  There is the computer. Take it online.  There is always a need for charitable giving that goes into what can be a bottomless need.  A PCO is a Positive Change Organization.  Need food?  Let’s go find a job.  Need rent?  Let’s figure out how to work it off.  Need a class?  Sit down and let’s live it and learn it together.  A PCO works at root cause analysis and resolution and works to rebuild mental constructs, attitudes, beliefs and skill sets. A transition happens from getting a need met to meeting the need myself and helping someone else meet their need also.  This is our distinctive value proposition.

In 2013/4, we graduated 57 Transformers in Life Skills (THINK) and 14 Family Builders (parenting) and 8 Mentor/Faciliators.  All but a few are still in contact.  16 are in class now.  Some of this is overlap.  We are in our second generation success.  A Life Skills grad comes back for Family Builders.  A Life Skills grad engages in community service and begins the process of giving back so others can gain what they have gained.  A Life Skills grad repeats the sessions as a facilitator.  This is second generation.  And then there are some third generation.  A Life Skills grad brings their partner to Family Builders and their kids get into events designed for them and a community is built around good positive family relationships.  A group is in that process right now.

A Transformer texted me yesterday.  She graduated a month ago.  Every day she completes what we call a “Thinking Report”. It is a tool to analyze your thoughts, feelings, attitudes and beliefs and engage in cognitive self change.  She refuses to relax until she accomplishes her goals.  She understands what we think is the driver to all actions.

A Transformer facebooked me this week.  When he came a year ago, he was newly out of prison, angry and confident his life was over.  Today he is one of the top coaches in helping others overcome addictive patterns right here in Cooke County.  He has and is helping countless others.  Over and over new people I meet mention his name.  THINK is what moved him into a different world.  He has a good job and good friends.

A Transformer stopped me in a restaurant this week.  He had his family surrounding him.  He’s lost weight and settled back into life after some years in prison.  He was one I thought would never make it.  He fought and resisted in every session.  But he made it.  He stuck it out.  He wanted to be added to any encouragements we send out.  So now, he is part of our daily text out.

It is for these we do what we do.  Not everyone is a success story.  Some don’t make it through the class.  We don’t play games.  Game players drop out fairly quick or change their mode.  But most people are looking for a chance.  They make it.

While working in Marietta, Oklahoma, a friend called me.  He told me that on the street in Marietta my reputation was that I was a Probation Officer in Texas looking for a place to house criminals.  I laughed a long time.  I guess we have helped enough people in Cooke County with connections in Love County, Oklahoma that it is affecting that community also.  That is a good thing.  Changed people change people.

At a community event, several managers from Winstar (the world’s largest casino) came up and shook my hand.  They thanked me and told me how important what we do is for them.  It is making a difference in their employees and they are grateful.  The workplace is improving.

When you support Community Transformation Initiative in Cooke County, Texas this is what you get.  Transformed lives, families, workplaces, and community.  It just makes sense to do it.

Initiatives in Love and Cleveland Counties in Oklahoma are beginning.  The model is working and continuing to develop.  It works.

Brick and Mortar: Stabilizing Influence

mooreofficeThe last 25 months mark a powerful laser focus for CTI.  Specific program offerings target individuals and fractured families for growth and healing.

  •  Encouragements and education additionally target leader and those in recovery.
  • The Texoma I-35 corridor is a busy spot in addition to high fatherlss census tracts in OKC metro.
  • Many volunteers are taking their place.

Selection of a brick and mortar location for home office finalized this week.  224 S. Chestnut, Moore, Ok provides ready access to the most critical fatherless zones in the metro, while giving quick access to the southern I-35 corridor.  Co-location with ServeMoore (disaster recovery), Chick-fil-A Family Foundation, UCO Small Business Development Center, a new medical clinic for low income, and others gives synergy a chance to play.

Be a part.  Staff, support equipment and materials, travel, = $$.  Invest in families.  Build a better community.

A gift of $350 helps a probationer rebuild his/her thinking.  It costs you $29,000 a year to let him/her go back to prison.  67% do you know within a short time..  So far  after training 72 over the last 14 months, we have no recidivism reported.  That’s a savings of $1,392,000 annually for taxpayers.  That’s a lot of kids with parents at home building a better future. Our average paticipant has 2 children.  So a good 100 children have parents around.  A THINK grad just texted me that she is using a “Thinking Report” every day after graduating 3 months ago.  She is determined to build a better life with new skills.

A gift of $450 trains a couple in parenting with research and evidence based materials.  Right now in our parenting class, five families come as couples and bring their children, where we provide activities for them.  They are building family not just parenting skills.  They are building positive community relationships to replace some not so positive ones they have.

Right now, your attitude is pumped up a little.  Your view of the possible is increasing.  Our community is being transformed.

Be a part(ner) – GIVE NOW   Card or Paypal or send a check or

National Christian Foundation  ( A place for intentional givers.  We are an approved recipient.)

Yes, in that picture are plants replacing tornado damage and the handles of rakes and shovels going out with volunteers with our partners ServeMoore.

A FRESH GENneration: Out of the Crowed and into Their Place.

servantsUse Your Professional Power…

Have you found the powerful young man or woman in your sphere of influence ready to do something big? Community Transformation Initiative reaches all ages and all stages. CTI connects with government, education, community, congregation, family, and individual. I like that and I support that.

Painted across our mental landscape are pictures of angry youth and twenty-somethings. Really? Is that all there is? The media is far too busy destroying hope. Yes, this is a generation of fatherless and increasingly parentless powerhouses. The potential is warped and pained. It is potential. It is power waiting to be unleashed.

As a professional, we can get skewed visions of this generation. Our own home is prim and proper. Our friends are prim and proper. As a professional did you ever realize you are the minority? The majority lives in pain. Violence and abuse is a norm. Abandoned and aborted relationships are the norm. Drugs and alcohol and godlessness are the norm. Unlimited potential power is in the hands of the pained. Dare you ignore that? It will be released. It is being released. Choose to be a part of releasing it in positive directions.

The young woman in the center of this picture lives in Matamoros, Mexico. She lives in a city where kidnapping is an industry. She lives in a neighborhood ruled by the dominant cartel. She lives in a city under martial law. She is a flower of hope. She is unlimited positive potential power waiting to be blossomed and unleashed.

For six years my team and I have worked with a men’s recovery center and two congregations in Matamoros. Youth have grown strong in this environment. Those that chose to embrace positive change have learned that nothing is impossible.

While working with CAREVI (Casa A Restauracion Y La Vida), I have watched her family change neighborhood after neighborhood. During a time of powerful prayer and teaching, she walked with me for over and hour so she could see close up the hand of God. She came out of the crowd and into her place.

Nothing positive happens without purposeful push and pull. Vicky will never be the same. I will continue coaching her over facebook. She already has been watching and learning from me in that venue as does her whole family. Her father pushed the first Dad’s University in Mexico and continues to make a difference.

CTI is active in 34 state houses, Matamoros, Gainesville, Tx, Marietta, Ok, and the OKC Metro every week. Join us with financial support, professional services, or get personally engaged hands on. Do something. Unleash the potential. Help someone get out of the crowd and into their place.

The Place to Givelifelongdads2015april

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