The Beat and Me

by Michael Mackey

This program (The Beat Within) has changed my life by giving me the feedback and courage to open up about my problems, to seek help, understand things that I cannot gure out on my own, meet new friends (good friends), and to be heard by many. I didn’t really open up to people, I didn’t let people know the real me, when I wanted to be heard or understood, no one ever helped or listened to what I had to say. And those who did hear what I had to say twisted my words and took advantage of the situation. This made me “lock up” on everyone. I never trusted anyone with that information.

Being involved in this program has brought being heard to a different level. Without this program I was being heard on a small and shallow level. With this program I am being heard on a vast level. I’m the kind of person who does want to be heard, and who also wants to help others. This program has changed me in a more positive way.

Why is it important for youths in juvenile halls to take advantage of programs available? Because you’ll never know what you might pick up from the programs that you can apply to your life. Hopefully they will help to keep you out of juvenile halls. There might be something within that group or program that will help you in your life, to become better, to take advantage of something new. Don’t be scared to try something new, and don’t be worried about what your friends might think of you for doing that. Its life not theirs, don’t play follow the leader. Be your own leader and think for yourself.

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The Power of The Mind

by Daniel

To the amazing young men and women incarcerated across the United States of America – my question to you is this. Take a long, hard look at where you at. Ask yourself – do you like where you are right now?

I’m assuming that most of the readers of The Beat Within are looking from left to right at the overall same things: three walls, a ceiling, a door that you cannot push, pull, or turn open, a stainless steel sink, toilet, and a steel mirror.

I’m also assuming you have trouble sleeping at night in your cell. You’re kept awake by the hard surface you’re lying on, the “mattress”, the tiny plastic pillow, the lights that never completely go off, and the people that beep your door every fteen minutes.

Most of the time though, it’s usually your worst enemy inside and outside the juvenile hall. It’s your OWN MIND! The thoughts you hear at 11pm in your cell. The thoughts that can be about anything and everything – your family, your friends, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, your block, and everything around and in between.

Mainly, and most frequently, you think about yourself. The things you have done, the struggles you have powered through, your triggers, your fears, your anger, your emotions, your mindset, and thinking process, all of it. Many of us young adults are beat down and criticized by our own minds.

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Dear The Beat Within Readers / Prison Letters for Our Struggling Youth

by Johnny Rodriguez

May this letter be well received in a few years. I am humbly proud to return praying my letter and motivational poem touches your hearts and opens you up to the sobering facts of life.

In December of 2013, almost three years ago, I lost a new, yet dear, friend, Alicia. At only fourteen she had been dealing with hardship of a broken home, gangs, and school. She was mercilessly gunned down in the drug and gang infested streets of Compton, California, before even having had the chance to mature out of that wayward life.

Within the time I was blessed to get to know Alicia, I discovered a young female who had lost her mom much too soon. While she had a loving father, to my knowledge, it was not enough to keep her from seeking a family and a meaning from a gang. She matured way too fast for her age and ended up a delinquent.

I was blessed to know that despite this, she still envisioned herself as someone working in the medical field in the future. I began to help to reinforce her visions of her short and long-term goals as best I could. The day before Alicia was robbed of her life, I found out that she had gotten kicked out of school. She reassured me that, “It’s on me, I’ll get back in school.” I told her not to become another statistic, but the very next day, the gift to the world that was Alicia Gomez was gone.

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