The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.
1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?
The Lionheart Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of incarcerated adults, highly at-risk youth and their children nationwide by creating and providing exceptional resources in emotional literacy development. The ultimate goal is to provide thousands more prisoners and at-risk youth the social and emotional skills needed to significantly increase the likelihood of developing into a mature adults, taking full responsibility for offending behavior, being successful upon their return to society, or finding meaning and purpose even if doing a life sentence. Our efforts support the needs of prisoners, highly at risk youth, their families, professionals and volunteers who work with these populations, and ultimately the community at large. We envision a safer more compassionate society, where these individuals are empowered to live up to their potential and contribute to the greater good of society.
We will continue the expansion of our programs into hundreds more institutions across the country. Houses of Healing (our prison program) has transformed programming in many prisons, including some of the country's most troubled institutions. The curriculum has become an integral part of prison programming, where substance abuse and mental health counselors, educators, chaplains, administrators, volunteers, and prisoners alike praise its positive impact. Power Source (our program for at-risk youth) has been utilized in 2500+ community programs, schools, and juvenile institutions. This emotional literacy program substantially enhances the emotional health of youth, therefore affecting their behavior and the options that they perceive to be available to them. With the support of Power Source, many youth gain the insight and necessary skills set to choose a way of life that enhances their relationships, their academic success, their employability, and their role in the community. Power Source Parenting (our program for at-risk teen parents) responds to an unmet need for resources that address critical issues inherent in at-risk teen parenting. It is an engaging book written to modify intergenerational cycles of violence, abuse and neglect, promote and develop positive parenting skills, improve the quality of parent-child interactions, and help to support a new generation of children. It is being utilized in shelters, residential programs, hospitals, social service agencies, community programs and schools. Research is ongoing with support from NIH to move the program along an evidence-based track. We work to establish all of our programs as evidence based curricula.
THIS IS JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG.
2. What are your strategies for making this happen?
The Lionheart Foundation:
*Creates exceptional quality curricula resources and programs and provides direct emotional literacy education programs to our target populations through staff and volunteers.
*Provides resources and training for professionals who work with our target populations.
*Identifies a vast array of programs and institutions and effectively delivers our resources to those they are intended to serve.
*Assures exposure to our resources through free nationwide distribution, knowing that without it only a tiny fraction of those who could benefit would be given the opportunity.
*Promotes our resources and programs through The Lionheart Website (www.lionheart.org), Online Marketing and Social Media Channels.
*Conducts research on the efficacy of our programs to meet the demand for evidence-based materials.
*And, conducts public education on the need for transforming our nation's prisons and juvenile institutions into places where inspiring positive values and teaching skills necessary for healthy functioning in our communities are primary goals.
After 25 years, Lionheart is still moving forward, full tilt, developing resources that will serve for decades, changing lives in profound ways, and making significant contributions to the professional literature and cutting-edge field of social-emotional learning. Our recent work, among other things, includes the development and launching of the free online prison volunteer training program attracting hundreds of interested volunteers and professionals; the production of new resources, including videos, to support our adult and youth initiatives and the Power Source Workbook for use in schools nationwide; research, including the Power Source Parenting study funded by National Institutes of Health; development of a correspondence course for prisoners in isolation and carried out by more than 130 volunteer facilitators; creation of a self-study course for use in California prisons by more than 400 inmates in SHU (special housing units); support for prisoner-led Houses of Healing courses in prisons in multiple states to substantially increase availability of programs; donations of thousands of dollars of our materials to support the facilitation of programs nationwide, and distribution of individual free copies of our books to inmates; and, always, we move forward in our fundraising, marketing and media presence.
3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?
For 25 years, the Lionheart Foundation has brought transformative programming to at-risk populations nationwide. Lionheart is a small foundation carrying out large national initiatives and making an enormous difference in the lives of prisoners, highly at risk youth, at risk teen parents, and the professionals who serve them. Lionheart programs have positively impacted thousands of individuals in institutions, schools, and community programs throughout the United States, Canada and abroad.
Our core staff has been together over many years giving strength and stability to our organizations as we accomplish our goals both efficiently and effectively.
Robin Casarjian, M.A. is the Founder and Director of the Lionheart Foundation and its National Emotional Literacy Projects. She is an educator, public speaker, writer, and consultant. In developing and implementing programming for prisoners and youth-at-risk, she draws from her experience as director of a school for at-risk adolescents, as well as extensive experience in education, stress management training, psychotherapy and administration. She is author of Forgiveness: A Bold Choice for a Peaceful Heart (Bantam, 1992) and Houses of Healing: A Prisoner's Guide to Inner Power and Freedom (Lionheart Press, 1995), and co-author, with Bethany Casarjian, Ph.D., of Power Source: Taking Charge of Your Life (Lionheart Press, 2003).
Bethany Casarjian, Ph.D. (Columbia University) is the Clinical Director of The National Emotional Literacy Project for Youth-at-Risk. From 1994 to 2004 she worked with at-risk youth in the New York City area. As a post-doctoral fellow at The Children's Village, Dr. Casarjian co-created the TRIP program (Treatment for Residents with Incarcerated Parents), which provides psychological services, including family therapy, for children and their incarcerated parents within prison facilities.
She has served as Clinical Director of The Heritage School in East Harlem and as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University. Dr. Casarjian has worked at various agencies with adolescents involved with the juvenile justice system. She co-authored Power Source: Taking Charge of Your Life (Lionheart Press, 2003) and authored Power Source Parenting: Growing Up Strong and Raising Healthy Kids.
Judith Perry, Lionheart's Chief Operating Officer, holds a M.S. in Management and Policy from The New School for Social Research, NY, 1997. She is the recipient of the Health Services Management Award from The New School for scholastic achievement and community involvement. She acted as community facilitator for nonprofit health services research funded by the National Council of Churches. For the past fifteen years, Judith has worked in the nonprofit sector.
We continue to deliver direct service and develop new resources and programs for our prisoner and youth programs while conducting major research funded by The National Institutes for Health.
4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?
Lionheart will carefully monitor our efforts in order to evaluate success that will be measured in the number of programs utilizing our curricula, new program options offered and successfully carried out, distribution results, outcomes from ongoing research, information gathered from surveys from participants, volunteers and professionals, numbers of volunteers who participate in our programs, and sales of Lionheart products that support our free outreach and distribution efforts.
5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?
The Lionheart Foundation (TLF) has positively impacted the lives of tens of thousands of at-risk youth and prisoners across the country and changed the nature of programming in some of the nation's most violent institutions. TLF helps highly at-risk youth and incarcerated adults change their life course by effectively managing the emotions that drive their destructive behaviors, understanding how their actions impact others, and moving forward with greater maturity and insight. The newest component of Lionheart's youth initiative, Power Source Parenting, gives teen parents the skills they need to become effective and nurturing caregivers. Power Source Parenting impacts not only the lives of thousands of teen parents but also their children and future generations. Lionheart's innovative programs are proven to increase social and emotional literacy and cultivate the skills needed for success in relationships, school, employment and the community. Our programs have impacted tens of thousands of individuals across the U.S. and beyond.
Lionheart continues to create new program offerings for youth and adults. The NEW resource for youth, The Power Source Workbook, will allow the Power Source Program to be introduced in public schools.