This year, 2015, due to some transitions at the prison, such as major construction, the games are not being played as a coopetition.
A committee was formed and it was decided by inmates, staff, and volunteers, Reverend Shayna Lester and Carole Foley, that the Compassion Games would be of a different nature. There are 4 organizations within the walls of the prison at CIW where the members of these clubs make items for people on the outside who are in need. The women from these clubs decided that they would participate in the Compassion Games by combining their efforts together and creating a great number of products during the designated time period (September 11 to September 21) that will be given to people on the outside that are in need. The points will be combined and added to Compassionate California point count. The women (inmates) see their work as a 'LIVING AMENDS'. It is their way of giving back to society. And, in a way, their restitution. The motto of 'Living Amends' is very important to them and one that each of us could use in our lives!
Here is a list of the organizations and the products that they are creating and making for distribution to many people in need outside of the prison:
1. HAPPY HATS PROJECT
Happy Hats Project is a community based, non-profit, organization that supplies critically and/or terminally ill children and their caregivers with whimsical hats in various hospitals in several communities. Hundreds of hats are created each year. Many with whimsical themes. Those that wear the hats say that in spite of great hardships, they are heros.
2. PRISON PUPPY PROGRAM
The Prison Puppy Program is an organization that gives independence to men, women and children who suffer from mental or physical disabilities. Dogs are bought into the prison and trained by qualified inmates to assist and service people based on their particular need. At the end of the training period, the dogs and the future owners are matched over a two week period to allow for bonding. If they are a match, the new owner leaves CIW with their dog!
3. VETERANS IN PRISON (VIP Post #1)
VIP Post #1 is the first prison veterans program in the country creating handicrafts to be delivered to veterans, active-duty military people, homeless veterans and veterans in hospitals and rehabilitations centers. The products that the women make are pillows, afghans, liner inserts for wheelchairs and walker baskets, stuffed animals and toys, moisture-prevention sleeping mats, scarves, beanie caps. New items are created and added monthly.
4. Sharing Our Stitches (SOS)
SOS has been at CIW for over 17 years. Inmates make quilts, blankets, pillows, backpacks and baby caps and booties. The items are given to local homeless shelters, convalescent hospitals, battered women's shelters, and, other needy community agencies. In addition to the items that these organizations are doing, a Day of Compassion (and, kindness) is being planned for the entire prison population (approximately 2000 female inmates). It is being planned for September 21st, 2015. Signs will be posted so that the women are made aware of the day.
And, the day will end with a very special meal prepared by the culinary department. It is expected that many, if not most, of the women will participate.
The hope is to have a day free of any negative energy.
READ: Jewish Journal Article "Creating Compassionate Cities Behind Prison Walls"