Hi PDN Folks,
will post more re this in the near future, but for now I want to let you know while recently picking up a Dharma Friend to take him to see his Lama, I visited a "ranch" that allows folks to stay there, provides meals, has small yurts, and single and two person "rooms". To reside there one may pay rent (approx $400/mo meals included) and for those without any income they can work 5 hours a day and live and eat there as well.
I decided to post re this place thinking that perhaps some of you "mentors" out there might know of a prisoner soon to be released, or already released and facing homelessness, someone you are pretty sure decided they do not wish to return to prison, nor commit the crimes that resulted in their being there. This is not a Dharma Center, but a ranch, a big ranch, there are many folks living there currently. I had a good feeling while there, although I was only there for dinner and an hour's visit. My friend did say it can get "crazy" at night (I think he meant there are all sorts of folks there, and some tend to knock on his door at night, yes, some wanting "to party, etc." But I think, for the most part, it is an okay place, especially for one out of prison who wishes to turn their life around and needs such a place when having little or no income.
Let me know if there is any interest and I'll post more...
I have been corresponding with a 25 year old (kid) who has been incarcerated since 2007, and will be released in October of this year with $200, no family and no home. He is incredibly positive and motivated, is a cook and highly talented artist. He has been studying the dharma, working with his dreams and meditating for the years he has been in and has a whole new perspective on life. I've been working on finding resources like this one for him. I think he would be a valuable asset to any community, and I want to do everything I can to keep him off the streets. Please let me know how to proceed.
Thanks so much for the friend request. I like your comment that you are "a student of the Dharma for life." Me too. I know it is a "true path," and now understand why folks refer to Buddha, Dharma, Sangha as Three Jewels.
When you said "how to proceed," are you referring to my post re "Sunny Acres?" If so, let me know and I'll start getting the info for ya, I've only been there once when visiting a Dharma Friend and got the impression, one just "shows up." But that might not be a valid assumption, so let me know and I'll find out more. Maybe try googling "Sunny Acres, San Luis Obispo, for Contact info. Oh, it is not a Dharma Center, but a ranch. my friend may or may not be the only practitioner there. Anyway, most of the folks I met live in one area, with private and shared rooms with a community bath and restroom, meals provided. I think these folks may be a diverse group, coming from prisons, mental health facilties, the streets, as well as people just looking for work in exchange for room and board. But my friend did say that there is another "ranch house" where only folks committed to changing for the better live, not sure if I'm relaying what he said correctly, but it sounded like the area where one first goes does have some "partiers (i.e. drinkers, etc.) but after some time if the ranch management sees someone living in a more disciplined manner, they are invited to a larger ranch house where the residents do not drink and such, and probably not tempted by other residents to do so.
Will chat again soon, best wishes for you and the inmate you are helping, and of course, all sentient beings.
Yes it was about this post I was referring- any options are better than the streets or the halfway house I think, and honestly, being around different kinds of people would be a great meditation practice! I'll look it up.
Oceans of Peace to you,