Part of the idea of the ripple effect is to start an energy that you don’t readily see. It is quite the revelation when you can see the effect of that ripple and where it has gone.
My involvement that spans 20 Years with St. Leonard’s Society has come full circle and the ripple has begun again.
We often talk about the ripple effect in the Positive Imperative, so I share this first hand story, with the thought to encourage more people to make the first step in a ripple effect that will impact both themselves and their world. The ripple effect is definitely one of the highlights of my life. ~ Victor Sinclair
A couple of moths ago I was invited as an honoured guest to the 40 anniversary celebration of St. Leonard’s Society in London Ontario, where I served as President of the board and in various other capacities for a number of years, both at the local and national level.
For a quick orientation, St. Leonard’s Society is a National organization of not for profits with many varieties of rehabilitation programs for those who have been in conflict with the law to help a successful reintegration into society with the intent to reduce the recidivism / re-offending and increase productive lives.
Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
Andy to Red in letter (Movie) ~ Shawshank Redemption.
Though I was involved in this movement long before I knew what the Positive Imperative would be all about, as I look back to my involvement in the late 80s and early 90s being involved in an organization that was so dedicated to their mission was one of my foundations and experiences that would help shape the PI movement.
As I saw it, most of it was common sense. You have an offender who is usually a victim of many negatives in their life, and the ultimate question becomes how do you successfully reintegrate them back into society and give them a chance to lead a productive life. As I saw it (and still do) the criminal justice system has two diametrically opposed purposes, to punish and to rehabilitate. The problem being, the more you punish, the more you will need to rehabilitate. I’ll leave the continuing discussion of the criminal justice system for another day, but rather turn my thoughts to those who are in passionate service of their mission.
One such person was the Executive Director, Peter Aharan, whom I pushed hard to hire as the incoming President and chair of the Personnel committee. There were many more qualified candidates if you were to review their academic achievements or their position or stature in other not for profits, but I went with a guy who had none of those qualifications, yet had a passion for corrections and the mission to turn a guys life around as an Ontario Parole Officer.
Part of my celebration that night, was to see how far the agency had come since I joined the board and that much of it was due in part to that guy named Peter and his passion to make it happen. Prior to hiring Peter, I had served as both interm ED and President of the board and I had the chance to get to know some of the staff members very well, and was so pleased to see many of them return for the big 40.
Lastly my satisfaction came from my board recruitment, which I believe if my numbers are right, I recruited the next four consecutive serving Presidents which included London Ontario notables like Janet McEwan who served on city Council on the Board Of Control, and Saunders Secondary school VP Becky Howse, as well as a well known accountant, Sandy McCallum and the communication director of the London Chamber John Redmond. I was also, a little creative, as I recruited one of the incredibly talented program managers of St. Leonard’s, Alice Lewis, to serve on the London & District Distress Centre board. Alice eventually became President of that board too, and was the recipient of the Janet McEwan service award at the 40th anniversary as well.
There were many long days that I spent working on St. Leonard’s projects and it was truly gratifying to come back a good ten years later and witness first hand the ripple effect and where it had gone too. Trust me when I say, that all of this is taken in stride, as I was simply an agent of on on going force of positive energy that was started by pioneers in community corrections like Ray Gallagher and Bishop Cronyn (related to the actor Hume Cronyn by the by) and it is to those people who started a ripple when there was none, that we acknowledge with great gratitude.
So as it would happen, I got reinvigorated and re-energized in the passion of purpose of St. Leonard’s, and so some things come to pass by pure luck and perhaps others were meant to be, but I think I might have been set up ( :>) ) on this one, as surprise surprise, I was seated by the current President of the Peel St. Leonard’s Society board whose facility if only a couple of blocks from where I live, and who just happened to be looking for a board member…… yes I’ve been conscripted again… but a willing conscript for sure.
St. Leonard’s Peel is a multi use facility so as well as providing programs and residence for those in conflict with the law, they also provide a residential facility for the chronically homeless. I was once again humbled by the knowledge and dedication of the staff, and the caring and love with which they were affecting the lives who for most of their duration have been discarded by the rest of society over and over.
So I share all this not to boast of public service but rather to share the importance of the ripple. You see when ever you start a positive ripple and continue those positive ripples, you will never know exactly how fare they will go, and exactly those who will be touched an impacted by it… you’ll only know that it’s another ripple, and that’s all that matters.
Here goes my next ripple !
PIQ Positive Imperative Question, Are you making any ripples?
Be informed with Community Resorative Justice Programs.
They make your community a safer place to life.
We are a community agency dedicated to Positive Change, in all persons who are or could be in conflict with the law to realize their potential, leading to a safer community.
St. Leonard’s Place (Peel) is a long term residential facility will provides a place of safety, belonging, dignity, nourishment and education for homeless men with serious mental illness and those who have been in conflict with the law.
With its two main client groups, the homeless and the ex-offender in transition, Sir Robert Williams House, Rotary Resolve House and the Father John Bartlett Home, will provide a community of peers and support who will respect and assist each other in re-integrating into the broader society. The Community will be an integrated, collaborative community in which people help people to reach their full potentia.
“Unless our society can redeem those who go astray, we can hardly call ourselves civilized; and, anyone doing the work being undertaken in St. Leonard’s Halfway Houses deserves the support of all who believe in human dignity.”
– Stanley Knowles, M.P.
St. Leonard’s Society of Canada is a membership-based, charitable organization dedicated to community safety. The mission of SLSC is to promote a humane and informed justice policy and responsible leadership to foster safe communities. It:
i) endorses evidence-based approaches to criminal and social justice;
ii) conducts research and develops policy;
iii) supports its member affiliates; and
iv) advances collaborative relationships and communication among individuals and organizations dedicated to social justice.
Victor Sinclair. Author of the forthcoming books; the Positive Imperative and the Positive Music Imperative, has a wide background in teaching, broadcasting, the music industry and business and most recently served as a founder and Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Canada (AmCham Canada). He has also dedicated more than 30 years of his life to volunteerism and not for profits including Big Brothers, Memorial Boys and Girls Clubs, Minor Leagues Sports and as a President and board member of several not-for-profit boards. Interests include family, biking, tennis, reading, music and PI/PMI of course.