OFA - 2009 OFA Annual Meeting - Day One - Responsible Fatherhood Panel

Uploaded by usgovACF on 12.08.2010

I have a few housekeeping items to let you now first.
If you are a capacity-building or community-access grantee,
Tanya Howell wants you to meet her in the lobby at 12:10.
At 12:10 you'll still be in here, so if you would meet her
10 minutes after we dismiss in the lobby.
The community capacity-building and community-access grantees
are gonna meet Tanya Howell
10 minutes after we dismiss in the lobby.
Also, tomorrow there was an omission in the program,
so if you are--if Barbara Spoor is your FPO,
your cluster session is going to be in Virginia B.
So all those who Barbara Spoor is your FPO,
can you raise your hand?
Great, I can't really see,
but you're going to be in Virginia B tomorrow at 2:15.
We are here with the Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Panel,
Re-entry and Beyond,
and we are--in OFA, we have funded 12 programs
in the priority-5 area that whose primary target is
incarcerated parents as well as a few other programs that are
in other priority areas that work with incarcerated or
formerly incarcerated programs, and we're doing this because
statistics have shown that 2.3 million children
have a parent that is behind bars.
And I've gotten that statistic, I'm sorry, I'm doing a shameless
plug, but the ICF macro and the CFUF team is developing
a tool kit that's being user tested in the exhibit room,
so please stop by to do the exhibit testing.
It's a tool kit of promising practices on how to get
your program up and running.
They also have found and have stated in this document
that fathers who commit to raising their children
are less likely to re-offend.
So what we wanted to do today is to talk--to showcase two
of our programs in the Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Program
that are actually working and being effective
in their community.
So first we are going to--
I'm gonna turn this over to Charles Ekekwe
and, close enough, and Winning Fathers Program
in Prince George's County,
they are part of the Maryland human resources grant,
and he is going to introduce to us two of his family,
two of his couples who are Ron Boyd and Teresa Evans
as well as Eric Clark and Shadell Kenny.
So we are so very proud and so very privileged that you would
take time out of your busy schedule to come and share with
us your experiences of how this program is helping your lives
and also helping the lives of our communities.
Thank you so much.
After we finish with the winning fathers, we will turn it over to
People of Principle out of Texas and there we have Billy and
LaMarque Petty who will talk to us from two points of view,
one as service providers and as couples
who have been through the program.
So thank you very much.
Trying to make say I don't say good morning
when I should say "Good afternoon."
But it's a privilege and honor to be here.
However, before I introduce my couple here, I'd like to
recognize the presence of the man that gives me the money from
state of Maryland, Johnny Rice is sitting down there
and also the man that brought me to this program
who is my program manager.
Bill Hall is somewhere, please, wherever he is,
he has done an outstanding job.
We represented priority 5, the state of Maryland
which comprises Montgomery County, Prince George's County
and Talbot County.
What you see here today, just two couples from Adam's House,
that's in Prince George's County.
We are not a religious organization, but these two men
that I've mentioned their name allowed me to tell a little
story to our fathers when they walked through the door.
The first thing I asked them,
it's: Do you know the problem that Adam had?
His crime wasn't just because he ate the forbidden fruit.
At Adam's House we believe that one of the crimes of Adam
was his failure to take responsibilities.
And when they walked through that door I ask you, my brother,
are you ready to take responsibilities?
And when he answers yes, he will have a seat.
So it's my privilege today, and I feel very honored,
Ron, Teresa, Eric, Shadell who've come a long way, and
I feel very honored that you've allowed me to walk with you
and continue to walk with you.
So ladies and gentlemen, these are the couple,
and I won't take too much time.
I'll have my seat.
If you have any questions for them, please,
they are here to answer.
Thank you.
So Shadell and Eric,
if you would like to tell us your story.
Good morning, everybody.
My name is Eric Clark, and
this is Shadell Kenny, my fiance.
The Adam's House program has been a huge blessing to me,
to us, to my sons, to our kids.
Our communication was always great but,
you know, it can improve and Adam's House
has helped out communication improve.
It helped me become a better father, helped me become
a better fiance, we're not married yet.
Also the Adam's House just--
it'll be there soon, it'll be there soon.
Also the Adam's House, it just it's a blessing
to be able to go to a place where men can gather
and talk and share their emotions.
You know, some are raised to say that men shouldn't cry,
but I believe that men should cry.
Let it out just like the ladies do.
Like I said, Adam's House has just been wonderful to me,
it's been wonderful to us.
It's helping us do everything that we need do as far as
raising our kids and as far as getting married
and keeping it together.
Thank you.
As he has already said before, my name is Shadell Kenny.
It has also been a blessing to me bigger and more advancement.
I have had the pleasure of having both of my parents
in my life, but they were separate,
so I had come from a blended family.
It has just been a big extension of what I already know.
I have two kids, a boy and a girl, one who is 3 months,
and it's just been a very good experience and something
that I will continue to do and pass it on to my children.
A lot of times we, as adults, we forget that, you know,
we have a pay a lot of attention to our kids, and we might need
some advice and we don't know everything so we can't just
always assume that our way's the best way.
And going to the Adam's House has basically opened my heart
and opened my ears to receive and take the advice
and actually practice it.
Eric and Shadell, I have a question for you;
what type of services did you receive?
Did you have relationship classes or what type of programs
were you offered at Adam's House?
I actually started out at the Adam's House
taking anger managements classes,
and they have Monday night group sessions
where the men come and they meet in one room talk about
everything, and the women come and they meet in one room
and talk about everything.
And at the end of the session, they actually brought it
together where they had the men and the women in the same room.
So together, I guess, you can say we did the Monday night
sessions, the group sessions.
Okay, in group session do you talk about communication skills
or what do you--what kind of things do you talk about
other than anger management?
Do you talk about how to communicate with each other,
how to express your feelings?
Yeah, we talk about communication between
the man and a woman, communication between children,
just life experiences, how you went through things,
other ways of, you know, doing things.
You know, being angry can sometimes take over our
emotions, and we have to figure out how to, you know, keep it
calm and talk respectfully and, you know, just keep
the communication going versus getting upset and irate
'cause once you start yelling, you're really not listening
to the person at all, you're just going off of emotions.
and anger.
So when you are angry, do they give you like
a particular skill or something you're supposed to
think about to help you calm down
or help you communicate your feelings better?
I can say yes and I can say no.
I know Charles introduced Bill.
Bill always told me that:
You don't have any buttons to be pressed.
You decide that you get angry because of what the person
has said or what the person has done.
You control your feelings, you control your actions
so most of the time, I just try not to get mad.
Okay, good.
And what about your children, have you seen an improvement
in your relationship with you and your children?
I have always had a wonderful relationship
with both of my sons, and it's just improving.
It's just improving by the days.
I live for them, I live for the family just like I heard
somebody earlier say that if you love that woman
then protect that woman and protect your family.
I am the man of the household, I'm the head so therefore
everything has to run through me, so yeah.
Thank you, Eric.
You're welcome.
Ron and Teresa, are you ready to tell us your story?
Yes, my name Ronald Boyd and this is my wife Teresa Evans.
I'll let her speak first and then let me say this,
for once in my life I'm nervous.
I'm actually shaking, and I'm a professional boxer so being
nervous is nothing, but I'm actually nervous here today
so I'm a let her speak and then I'll speak.
Hi, my name is Teresa Evans and like my husband said,
we're married.
The way that I actually was introduced to the Adam's House
was I received a phone call from Charles.
My experience as for as the intake coming into the program
is a little bit different from my husband's.
My husband had went to the program to receive services
for anger management, and in him meeting with Charles, Charles
felt that it was important for me to be a part of that because
me and him do have that intimate relationship and a lot of
the conflict in our life, you know, that he was talking
about or was going through dealt with relationship issues.
And so when Charles called me, it was kind of ironic
because I am on the frontline just like you guys.
I have had many years of experience working for
a nonprofit agency in Washington, D.C.,
actually the oldest nonprofit agency in Washington, D.C.
which was Friendship House.
And so I worked with these type of families every day.
I, you know, I was, you know, the one that worked with
the mothers to get WIC and the babies to make sure that
they get, you know, free health insurance and the teams that
needed to get information on, you know, treatment for HIV and
TANF recipients and, you know, I was there to be that lending
hand, to give them the answers that they needed to get over,
you know, the shortcomings that they had, you know,
to get served where they were under-served.
And actually I was the one that was needing those same type
of services, but couldn't be honest with myself about it.
And so when Charles called me, I was actually sitting down
with a family--you know, with one of my parents, you know,
she was talking to me about being a battered woman
and I'm telling her some of the agencies that she can go to
in the city to receive services when in actuality,
I was looking at myself in the mirror.
I was a battered woman.
You know and before we came out here, I asked my husband
was it okay for me to really be honest about why we came to
the Adam's House because I was being battered
at the hand of my husband.
He's a professional boxer,
so all of his aggression came physically.
And so he came for anger management, but actually I came
because I needed someone to help me, you know, I was
always helping other people but I needed somebody to help me,
and Charles became that savior.
He allowed me to realize that
I don't have to be a victim anymore.
You know, he allowed me to realize that, you know, all of
the hurt and all of the baggage that I was carrying around in
my life that allowed me to be, you know, almost susceptible or
drawn to abusive relationships, not just my husband.
I had more abusive relationships before this but, you know, just
helping me to see that I don't have to be that victim anymore.
And so we actually went through the, you know,
healthy marriage program and we're still
in the healthy marriage program
so that's how I came to Adam's House.
But I'll let me husband speak on how he came to Adam's House.
Once again I'm Ronald Boyd and I am the Adam's House.
I'm a product of that, I can say.
I came way through the Adam's House because
I had a clothing store that was in the area
and the gentleman that cleans the property--
let me back up.
Me and wife was arguing one day, it was a Sunday.
She go get in the car and say, "I'm going to church."
I say, okay.
You know she was like, "You stayin' home?"
I was like no, I'm a drop you off.
She was like you're not dropping me off.
She pulled up at the place station.
She dropped me off.
Like I told the judge and I'll say it and I said it to Charles
when I first went there and I'll say it to ya'll
and I'll say it to the world, leaving is not an option for me.
When I stood before God, I said, "I do,"
not knowing I had a problem.
You know, she mentioned counseling.
I said, man, I'm not going.
Nobody can tell you about my problems.
It's not a problem if I don't say it's a problem.
Then one day I walked in.
I called and spoke to Mr. Bill first and then when I walked in
was supposed to be seeing Mr. Bill, but I seen
Mr. Charles.
And that first day I let it out.
You know, I told him that leaving is not an option for me,
and I actually cried.
How barbaric it may sound at that time to me,
but it was real.
You know, I tell them time and time again, I love my wife,
and that's what I really do, I really love my wife.
We're not here for no infidelity or nothin' like that.
We're here because I have a problem with my hands,
and I had a problem the way you would talk back to me.
I thought I was old fashioned, you know, back in the day
a woman couldn't talk to a man like that.
Excuse me, I apologize if I'm wrong for saying it,
but that's how I felt.
So this would, you know, I'd go on in and sit down in front of
Charles and he talked to me just as worse as she did
so it don't matter.
So that's what, you know, and I have to say that trust
was a hard word for me to say, but I did trust Charles.
You know, our last-- one of my sessions,
you know, we got heated, so heated I walked out.
He told me, you'll never leave like that again.
You know, but once again the Adam's House is really--
excuse me I'm a little shaken a little bit.
It's okay, it's okay, we appreciate this.
The Adam's House has really made me the man I am today.
You know, my daddy was a good dad, you know,
and the way he brought me up was--
I'm not gonna say he brought me up but I was
a product of it, he would hit my mom it would be all right.
Just give her some money and she'd go to the store and she
would be all right, and that's what I thought being a man
was until I came in the fold and then I understand.
You know, we still have our differences today, but today
is better than yesterday and yesterday was better
than the day before that.
So with that in mind I can say that I'm proud that I did walk
through the Adam's House.
And let me say this, anywhere where it's free and it's
counseling and they're in there hearing your problem,
that's the love they have for it.
Many days I walk out the door and if--we play kickball.
That stem from our relationship as well.
We go on the kickball field and you got families out there,
married couples, you got a problem,
you're talking about leaving, you need to go to Adam's House.
They got some place for you to go.
They good up there.
You hear me, they saved mine.
I'm still here.
You know so once again, it's a privilege to be amongst you all,
and I thank the Adam's House for calling me and my wife
and inviting us out because it's something that
we wouldn't want to miss.
And if I can say how we met, ours is a little different
from you alls, we met in the club, and I told her I was
with the Five Heartbeats, I'm shy, and that's how I got her.
That's great.
Thank you, Ron.
And I think that all of us a realizing that life
is about one step at a time.
Can you tell me how your relationship has changed
since you've been at the Adam's House?
Either one, both?
I think for me the way that the relationship has changed for
me is my parents were together for, you know, when I was
younger up until a certain point, and they separated.
And I was a daddy's girl so it was a very, very
traumatic experience for me.
And for many years, I blamed my mom for that and, you know,
I carried that with me for a long time.
And in addition, no, not having a father in the household,
I never was able to see how a woman and a man, you know,
have that intimate relationship that comes with marriage.
So like the couple was saying before,
I didn't have that assessment tool.
I didn't have that model relationship,
so I came in blind.
As, you know, up until the point that I got married, you know,
everything in my life outside of, you know, what people
knew about me, what I shared with the world was success.
You know, in my professional-- in my professional life which
I overcompensated for, you know, I was very successful and I knew
what to do and I knew how to climb the corporate ladder.
And I knew, you know, that this is how I'm gonna be assessed
by my supervisors or my peers or this is what's expected of me
because I have a job description or a work scope.
You know so I was able to determine my actions based on
those things 'cause those things were there, but I didn't have
the tools to become a wife or to handle, you know, what comes
with being a wife and problem solving strategies and
coping mechanisms to deal with, you know, being a wife and,
you know, being with him and accepting him for who he is and
the things that came, you know, with him as far as his past
and us blending our relationship because we both had children
and, you know, parenting which is still one of the hardest
things for us now because I was a single mother for so long
that I had my own parenting style.
So when he came in and he became a father figure
in the household, it--we, it's a lot of conflict and we still,
like he said, the last time that we had a--we met with Charles
and we had a heated discussion and he walked out
and he didn't come back at all.
He didn't come back just, so just so ya'll know,
it was that serious.
You know, he came home,
but he didn't come back to the counseling session.
But it was because, you know, it's hard for me as a parent,
you know, my daughter has a hard time with, you know, him
disciplining her or him speaking to her about the things
that she should and she should not be doing because the way
that he does it is not the same way that I do it.
And so, you know, she internalizes that and it caused
a lot of conflict and riff between us as parents because,
you know, he sees it some way and I may not necessarily agree
and so, you know, things like that,
we're still trying to work on.
And I don't know what else to say, what do you got to say?
Well, I think that's great.
We're all a work in progress so we are moving forward.
I'm gonna switch it a little bit.
We're going to a different part of the country.
Going to the Midwest to Texas, People of Principle and we have
Billy Petty and LaMarque Petty who are both instructors
and have been a part of the healthy marriage class.
So can you tell us our story?
My name's Billy Petty, and we're from Midland-Odessa
and first thing I'd like to do is apologize for bringing
all this hot weather up here.
I got out and I didn't think I'd left anywhere.
I thought the plane had just gone around in a circle.
First of all, what I'd like to tell you about is our program,
People of Principle.
It started off a couple of years ago as basically
a fatherhood program for incarcerated fathers,
fathers who were actually on parole at the time.
And we changed it up a little bit and basically made it
a healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood program
where we were able to get the wives involved.
And we talked about things like communication
and listening skills and, you know, and about how we feel
and talk about those things.
We also talk about domestic violence and sharing
our feelings, making time for each other and having fun and
we also talk about how to break the institutionalized mind.
And to tell you a little bit about how I got involved in it
is actually, I think I was tricked a little bit at first.
It was my attorney had volunteered my name.
And myself, I am an ex-convict.
I have been to prison in Texas three different times
for a total of 9 years I was incarcerated.
And when I got out, the wife that I did have before I was
incarcerated was no longer there, and I didn't have
the part of that in my family.
And when I got out, I had gotten involved in a relationship with
my wife now and he suggested that I go check this out.
And what happened is is it was a fatherhood program.
The teacher that we had at the time who was the gentleman
who pretty much has made changes and helped with the program,
Ron Brewer, we--I went through the class with him
as he taught it and then I started teaching also.
And the neat thing about that was is we started off teaching
at the parole office to guys.
And I really didn't know the impact that that could have,
but when I first started and I told them where I had been,
we had a common bond and things just took off.
And but the main reason that I took it is because I had gotten
involved in a relationship and my wife now had two children,
and I didn't know how to be a father.
My father committed suicide when I was 9 years old,
and then I got heavily into alcohol and drugs
and so much there went my story as far as going to prison.
And when I got out the last time, I did not want to go back.
And I didn't know how to change, and the key for me was
asking for help and I didn't know what to do.
And in that process as I started going to 12-step recovery
programs, and I've been sober since March the 26th of 2002--
And by doing that I got involved in this.
And the main reason I wanted to is like I had mentioned,
my wife had children, and when we first started dating,
she had a son that was 15 years old.
And he had taken his mother's car one night, and I had gone
over there to talk to him and the talking came basically
him coming after me with a baseball bat.
And there was a confrontation that happened
and from that point on, that child hated my guts.
And I had no idea how to be a father
or how to repair that relationship.
Through the things that I've learned through these programs,
especially the communication, we were able to talk, sit down
and talk and that relationship today is absolutely incredible.
As a matter of fact, today he is 20 years old today--
And he also works for the same company that I work for
and he is in Arkansas.
And you know, through those changes and in not raising
my voice or anything like that, you know, we communicate.
When there was problems when he was living at home,
you know, we had certain rules but if he broke a rule,
there wasn't yelling.
We'd sit down and we'd talk about it and want
the expectations that we had as parents and expectations
that we had of him living in our home.
And what's happened in to me is just an absolutely great feeling
is just like yesterday morning when we were getting ready
to come down here, he called and he was having some problems.
And he called me.
And we got to talk about it, you know?
And the one thing that I explained to him,
he is a young man that went through some tough times and
he had quit school and gotten involved in drugs a little bit.
And I basically what I told him is whatever choices you make,
we still love you.
There may be some consequences to your choice and these
may be some of them, but in through those, you know,
discussing those issues and discussing those things,
that relationship has blossomed.
As far as it's also kind of neat is that when our program kind of
switched and changed, I was in a relationship, and we got married
November will be 2 years and we got married on the
10th of November and I believe it was the 24th of November
we were in our first healthy marriage seminar.
And you know, and I wanted to do that also because
I didn't know how to be a husband.
I didn't know how to have relationships.
I, you know, like the reverend had talked about earlier
is that I was not taught that growing up.
I had no idea how to do those things
and what I have seen is it's helped our communication.
We have fun together.
You know last night we were talking with some of the other
people that we came up here with about having fun in your
relationship and especially with the economic times like they're
talking about is having dates that don't cost very much,
and doing the things that you can do just to have fun
and take the time to do those things.
And we have a blast, you know, in our relationship.
But the one thing that, you know, I--when I got here
and I saw the sign that before the meeting in the OFA
about the strong practices and the bright promises,
you know, when reverend was talking earlier about
the principles of family and about
the principles of fatherhood, you know practicing those
principles in everything we do in our job, our family,
you know just everything that we do,
treat people the way we want to be treated.
And if that happens, the promises that will come true
are just wilder than you can ever imagine, you know?
I never thought that 5 1/2 years ago when I was sitting in
the Texas department of criminal justice
that I would be involved in something like this.
And to me today, this is one of the greatest things
that's ever happened to me in my life.
You know, he talked about the passion and purpose and,
you know, today we go into prisons and we--with guys
who are getting close to getting out of prison,
and their wives show up and have stuck by 'em.
We get to spend time with them and let them know that there are
resources out there when you get out that can help you
and, you know, it just, I just get excited when I see that.
Thank you, thank you, Billy.
I do have to say this one thing, I forgot,
Ron told me that if I didn't introduce my wife
that I would be in serious trouble.
My wife's name is LaMarque Petty,
but for all of us, we call her Muffin.
Well, I won't do that, but LaMarque.
Hi, everybody.
My name is LaMarque Petty, and I'm pretty much
Billy gave you the full story.
I actually met Billy when I was 2 days sober
and he was 2 months out of prison.
So we were just starting a journey,
and we have walked through recovery together.
And we're both very active in the 12-step recovery program
and so that's how we got to know one another and became friends
and then began dating.
And as he said, my son was not his biggest fan.
And what I saw happen after Billy began teaching
that class was him learning a lot of patience.
You know, it's funny how when you're teaching something,
sometimes you also become a student.
And he really did and he learned patience and he learned
to listen and he learned to feel compassion for my son.
Even though he was making mistakes and doing some things
that we really didn't approve of, you know he's a human being
and kind of lost and had gone through my divorcing his father.
And you know it was just kind of a mess for him.
And like Billy said in the time that has transpired,
they have really developed a close relationship.
My son calls Billy more than he calls me.
He does.
And but the cool thing about that is I think it's important,
you know, that father role is very important
and my son needed a dad.
You know, quite honestly his own dad did not have a great
relationship with him, and I'm not saying anything ugly
about his father.
I'm just saying that's how it was.
And Billy has, through learning these principles
and practicing these principles that we learn in this program,
he's been able to be a dad.
And my son, Chris, probably wouldn't even use that word
to describe their relationship, but that's the relationship
that you see from an outside point of view
and that I see from a mother's point of view.
And so that's how it has really, really touched our lives
and has made a better life for a child, a 20-year-old child,
but you know it's been a huge improvement.
We're very grateful.
Thank you.
One question I know pastor asked the other panel
that I being nosey, I'm just interested in.
I know I know when you met, but how did you meet?
How did you meet your wife?
Actually, I'll answer that one.
I told you it was my second day sober,
so I wasn't in the best of shape.
Anyway, we met, we met at a meeting.
I had actually gone to a meeting that I don't normally go to,
and I was trying to avoid a woman who I met at that meeting.
She was the first one I saw and I trying to avoid her.
Anyway, she ultimately became my sponsor, and go figure.
But anyway she scooped me up and she said,
"Come on, you're gonna come to my house.
We're gonna sit down and have a conversation."
And she grabbed Billy whom I'd never met before and said,
"Come on we're gonna go to my house, you know, we're gonna,
I guess, tag team her."
And we went to her home and that's the first time
I met Billy and we just became acquainted
and that's where we met.
Okay, good.
Eric and Shadell, how did you meet?
We actually originally met in high school.
We went to the same high school together which was
Fortsville High School in Prince Georgia County Maryland.
We was real good friends throughout our years
in high school, and she actually moved back
to Georgia right before we all graduated.
So I didn't see her for a very long time, and I went to through
some downfalls in my life that resulted to me being on
the home detention program for Prince George's County.
And God brought her back into my life for a reason.
I mean without this young lady right here, I don't think
I really would be where I am today as a man so--
We ran into each other at the mall about a little over
a year ago and sparks flew every since then and here we are.
Very good.
Ron and Teresa, we know you met in the club,
but who introduced themselves to the other first?
Let me tell my side of the story.
According to my husband, I was looking at him from across
the room all night so I was giving him the eye.
And so when I was leaving the club, it was actually
my 26th birthday, so all of my girlfriends we had went to
dinner and we decided to go out afterwards.
And he had went with some of his friends and so as I was leaving
the club, I had walked out first to go and pull the car around
to meet my girlfriends, and he's out there with his friend.
And so he's walking a little bit ahead of me and he turns around
and, you know, he says something to me--
Orange pants.
He called me orange pants.
I had orange pants on.
So he says, orange pants and at first, you know my first,
you know, thought was, I don't know who he think he
talking to calling me orange pants.
You know and so, you know, he said, "Orange pants,
why don't you come over here and talk to me."
So I said no, you need to come and talk to me
if you want to speak to me.
So then that's when he said, "Well, I'm from
the Five Heartbeats and my name is Shy."
Same year we engaged and next year we married.
This will be our second year right here.
September the 9th, to be exact.
We are have 2 2-year-old marriages here, almost 2.
I have a question for Billy and LaMarque.
You said that you went to a healthy marriage class 2 weeks
after you got married.
So can you tell the difference prior, during your engagement
to your marriage 'cause wasn't anytime
to change after your marriage?
Yeah, I can tell you a whole lot.
Matter of fact, I can tell you a story right now that
I've learned a whole lot and one of the things I learned is about
not being so self-centered.
And probably being in Washington, D.C. right now,
this is probably not gonna be the most popular thing
that I talk about, but it was my wife's birthday
and I asked her what she would like to do on her birthday
and her birthday is in December.
And she said all she wanted to do was stay home and watch
"It's A Wonderful Life" on TV.
And I'm thinking, man, how boring.
And also this is the part that's probably not gonna be real
receptive, is that I am a die-hard Dallas Cowboy fan.
Billy, I was trying to keep that a secret.
I wasn't gonna hold it against you but--
But and the Cowboys were playing that night,
but they were on the NFL Network, so I couldn't see it.
So I was trying to figure out how I could get away with this,
and I had gone to Wal-Mart and I had bought
a little transistor radio with the little ear piece.
And I was thinking, you know we can watch TV
and she'll never know it.
And I wired the wire up through my shirt,
and I had it in my ear.
And we're watching "It's A Wonderful Life."
There was only one serious problem is at the time,
Julius Jones broke a run for about 60 yards for a touchdown,
and I was going, "Go, go, go!"
And she said, "What are you doing?"
And I says, this movie is so exciting,
I just can't handle it.
And she noticed the ear piece in my ear,
and it was not a pretty sight.
And she didn't talk to me for a little while.
And actually, Ron asked me, he says, "Well, what did you do?
And I was like, well, she was already mad
so I finished listening to the game.
We'll repair this later.
But I have learned not to be so self-centered
and especially on her birthday.
So yeah, I've learned a lot.
I think that's a very important lesson.
LaMarque, did you want to add?
And I married him anyway.
But no, you know, and I really--I was at a point where
I really thought we were okay.
I mean we were getting married and the relationship was good
and, you know, he's--but after going through the class together
as participants, you can't help but learn something.
And I think our communication, particularly
our listening skills, have improved tremendously.
I think the way we look at each other is different.
We go through a module called the five love languages,
and we learn kind of what makes the other person tick
because we all respond differently to different things,
and we're not all wired the same.
And so I kind of know what he needs and he kind of knows what
I need, and it's not always the same thing and that's okay.
We're on the same team and, you know, like with regard to
the whole football thing, he's passionate about
a couple of things, golf and football.
Just because I'm not doesn't mean that it's not really,
really important.
That's important to him, and so it's important for him to have
that time do those things.
And you know, I don't have a problem, I can keep myself
occupied doing something else.
I have friends, we have more than one television, you know?
I can do something else so it's a lot of compromise
give and take that I don't believe was there.
Any manipulation, I think, that maybe used to be there,
that doesn't happen anymore.
We're just pretty, pretty honest with each other
and try to really be considerate and respectful of one another.
Thank you.
I just have two last questions and that's for Eric and Ron.
Would you recommend Adam's House to some of your friends
and if so, why?
Yes, I definitely would.
Like I said before, the Adam's House is a place
where men can come and gather together in like I've never seen
anything like I've seen at the Adam's House before.
I recommend it to everybody.
I recommend it to my friends, church members, family members.
Even if you are not incarcerated or you didn't just come out of
incarceration, even, you know, if you're just married and you
have a family, I still recommend it 'cause there's still things
out there that you can learn.
And, of course, as a young person, I thought
that I knew everything, but it turns out that I didn't.
Thank you.
Yes, I would recommend the Adam's House
to any and everybody.
It really helped me, you know, become the person
I am today and, you know, changes go around.
The same faces you see going up,
you're gonna see them same faces coming down.
So pretty much, you know, it made me a better person.
Charles made me a better person.
If I can say one day when I first went in, I did the little
intake and Charles said, "Well, go head on other there
'cause they starting the class.
They starting the next session over there and I'll call you
back up here tomorrow to do the interview."
When I go over there, they was talking about
relationship or something like that.
I said, man, I'm in here, I said, Mr. B,
I said, I'm in here 'cause I got an attitude problem.
He said, "Oh, you need to sit down some more."
And that's just to let you know that it's a broad perspective,
and it's a really learning experience
and I really learned a whole lot.
I really learned to be a man, you know,
from a boy to be a man.
Like Eric said, I thought I knew it all, I'm a person that been
incarcerated for 12 1/2 years and, you know, 12 1/2 good years
'cause I learned a whole lot and I learned even more
in the Adam's House.
What I didn't know then, I know now, so yes I would.
Thank you.
We are out of time, but I just want to thank you so much.
I want to thank Ron and Teresa and Eric and Shadell
and Billy and LaMarque.
Thank you for sharing your stories.
And I wanted to say and teaching us a few things, so thank you.