Monday, April 26, 2010

Narrated from Serving Productive Time

When Laura and I present our seminars behind bars, in the section on Forgiveness, I always tell my story about George, which happened while on a trip to Sedona, Arizona.

On Saturday, my friend, Wilson, and I met and I narrated this story, “Forgiving the Person I Hated the Most” from our book, “Serving Productive Time.” Although it’s not a perfect narration, below is the link to the results as an mp3 file.

Listen to “Forgiving the Person I hated the Most” (mp3 file)

Some correctional facilities have rules that books for inmates must be purchased and shipped directly from the publisher. Below are links to order books from our publisher, Health Communications, Inc. Please click on a book cover or the general link for other HCI titles. Thanks.

Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul Serving Productive Time Chicken Soup for the Volunteer's Soul

Click Here for other recommended books published by HCI.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Prison-Related Cartoons by Joseph P. Guerrero

Professional Speaker, Trainer, Author, and Consultant
Cartoon reprinted by permission of Joseph P. Guerrero.

As authors of several prisoner-related books, we receive lots of mail from inmates across the county. Much of our mail is for requests of our books. Occasionally someone will write to simply thank us for our part in getting our books into the hands of those often forgotten.

In recent months, we received letters from an inmate, Joseph, in a Virginia jail. In his first letter, he shared: “Through Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul, I found hope in a seemingly hopeless situation.” – Joseph P. Guerrero, WTRJ, 2402 Godwin Blvd., Suffolk, VA 23434.

Joseph was so inspired by the cartoons in our books by Matt Matteo that he decided to try his hand at cartooning. Since then he has created and shared dozens of his cartoons with us. A few days ago he sent two cartoons that we love. See them at the top and bottom of this Blog. Note: Joseph would appreciate receiving some feedback from you, too.

Professional Speaker, Trainer, Author, and Consultant
Cartoon reprinted by permission of Joseph P. Guerrero.

Monday, April 19, 2010

New Mexico Visit

My recent trip to New Mexico was simply amazing. Jane Davis recommended me as a speaker for the prison volunteer's conference on April 17, 2010. Jane is a contributing author in "Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul" and "Serving Time, Serving Others." Although Jane and I connected about 1999, this was only the second time I saw Jane in person.

In between the conference and a prison visit, Jane brought me to her "One Heart Ranch" near Santa Fe. It's out in the middle of nowhere...truly God's land. Below are a few details about my trip, also documented at:

Penitentiary of New Mexico (PNM)
Santa Fe, New Mexico
17 April 2010
Tom presented a seminar for about 20 men and 6 staff (including the warden) in the evening inside the gym. Jane Davis of HOPE-HOWSE (, who volunteers at PNM, arranged the event and also facilitated a guided meditation and deeply shared her thoughts with the group as part of the seminar.

“Wow! Sometimes one wishes the day never ends. This was one of those days!! Thank you, Tom, for sharing so much of yourself with so many. I am bursting with joy from such a wonderful day and evening. I, personally, was rejuvenated today and thank you for this fact. It is a blessing knowing people like you are in my life!! Thank you and bless you!!!”
Jane Davis

New Mexico Prison Volunteers’ Conference
Albuquerque, New Mexico
17 April 2010
Tom was the keynote speaker for this event for about 130 volunteers and staff at Grace Church. Our thanks to Jane Davis of HOPE-HOWSE for suggesting Tom to the organizing committee.

“You have touched my heart and soul with your presentation on how to get out of the ‘ruts’ and move on. This not only applies to those incarcerated but to all people of all walks of life.”
Shirley Compton, Blessings Unlimited
Retired Chaplain, New Mexico Women's Correctional Facility
Grants, New Mexico

"Thank you, Tom, for your inspiring day and vision. You touched so many hearts today from corrections’ volunteers, wardens, chaplains, and inmates. Come back soon."
Jane Davis

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Seminars for Federal Prisoners in Elkton, Ohio

On Tuesday, April 6, my wife, Laura Lagana, and I presented two seminars in Lisbon, Ohio. About 400 men attended our morning seminar at FCI-Elkton (a.k.a. Top of the Hill) and 150 men came to our afternoon session at FSL-Elkton (a.k.a. Bottom of the Hill). The morning seminar of 400 men was the largest group of participants we’ve ever had in a prison setting.

This opportunity came about by an inmate at FCI-Elkton who told the warden about our books and seminars. The warden asked to meet us on the morning before the seminars. Seldom do we get to meet a warden or superintendent when we visit a facility. The inmate who helped make this happen attended our presentation, so we had the opportunity to meet him and ask him to say a few words to the 400 men that morning. This was indeed a special visit.

Feedback from seminars via letters from inmates there:
"Outreach like yours is so vital as to almost defy description. You and relatively few others ministering in this area have done so much to raise people's awareness of who prisoners are, as apposed to what they are."
- Noel, FCI-Elkton

“You inspired me to continue my goal of being active in prison ministry and to continue in my effort to co-author a ‘help’ book for other addicts and inmates.”
- Jack G., FSL-Elkton

"Prisontation" at SCI-Mercer

On Thursday, April 1, my wife, Laura Lagana, and I presented our seminar “A Winning Recipe for Success Behind Bars” at SCI-Mercer in Mercer, (western) Pennsylvania for about 40 inmates and staff. It was nearly nine years since I visited there, and it was Laura’s first visit. She was pleased to finally meet Matt Matteo who has his cartoons included in all six of our books:
• Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul
• Touched by Angels of Mercy
• Chicken Soup for the Volunteer’s Soul
• Serving Time, Serving Others
• The Quick and Easy Guide to Project Management
• Serving Productive Time

Below is some feedback we received by mail after our presentation:
“I want to express my gratitude and admiration for your ability to introduce logic and common sense, as tools, to be used for the betterment of one’s self.”
- Mearl C., inmate, Mercer, Pennsylvania

The one-page handout we use as the basis of our seminar is linked below (pdf). Feel free to print, copy, and distribute to anyone interested. Thanks.

A Winning Recipe for Success Behind Bars (pdf)

Professional Speaker, Trainer, Author, and Consultant
Action shot at SCI-Mercer