PHOTO: PARAMOUNT THEATER HISTORY
This past week, we traveled to Denver, Colorado to take part of the Q Conference. The setting was lovely, held in the beautiful Paramount Theater right in the heart of Denver with the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. Q stands for questions with none off limits. From marijuana, gender, assisted suicide to responding to the plight of refugees, kids in the foster system and ex-cons. One of the highlights were watching a great film, The Great Gilly Hopkins, based on a book by Katherine Paterson about a young girl Gilly and her journey through the foster care system. A feisty and troubled pre-teen, Gilly is put in one home after another until she finds herself in the home of a quirky widow, Mrs. Trotter, played by Kathy Bates. The film is fabulous and isn’t released until later this fall but I’ll let you take a look yourself…
Another highlight was hearing about the great work of People of the Second Chance (POTSC) is doing to give people coming out of prison a second chance. They celebrate them through their Prodigal Parties and help them transition back into their lives and communities.
We heard the story of Willis who spent 14 years of his life in prison for armed robbery. When he was released POTSC gave him a Prodigal Party and asked him to tell his story. Through it they realized he was a gifted writer who had written over 20 books in prison and had a passion for young people with a similar background and childhood as his own. He is now a mentor to young men, challenging them that their lives have purpose and that they have value and significance.
He asked the question, “When do I stop being punished for a crime I did 14 years ago?” Willis has been given a second chance. In describing the impact POTSC has had on him he said, “There’s a difference between hearing with your ears than listening with your heart….It helps to take that change that happened in prison and apply it in the real world.” Check out how they are valuing broken lives and giving second chances at secondchance.org. And I love this video that gives a glimpse into their Prodigal Parties!