Our clients at the Donna K. Evans Foundation, are facing numerous internal and external battles; ranging from current drug use and relapse, probation and parole, mental health issues, re-acclimating into society, education deficits, unemployment, isolation, and reinventing oneself, amongst so many other issues. Michael Scarry told his story of being paroled from prison in November 2018, after spending 31 years wrongfully incarcerated for first degree murder. His story was not only captivating, but compelling and motivating. He had been arrested in 1988 at the age of 18 and sentenced to life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He was able look back at the past 32 years, reflect on his life, choices he made, actions he took, beliefs he held onto, not only kept him alive, but what, how and who gave him the ability to rise above adversity. He has overcome countless hurdles which have given him the innate ability to see life from the inside looking out. His story is one that will inspire others, provide hope when all seems lost and motivate individuals experiencing when they are in their darkest of days. Michael Scarry is in the rebuilding stage of his life, just like our clients, as well as many of the rest of us.
Having the privilege of watching our clients listen and engage with Michael was captivating. The questions asked and interest shown exhibited their need and desire to change and improve their lives. Our clients benefit from motivation and success stories because they want to be successful in their own life and listening to a relatable example. Placing a baby for adoption invokes a multitude of emotions ranging from pride, anxiety, depression, fear, grief, and more. Hearing the story of an individual who experienced all of these same emotions even through having experienced these thoughts, feelings and emotions in a different situation made our clients feel understood, empathized with and validated.
Sometimes in a presentation, the audience will walk away with one new piece of knowledge or information and other times the entire presentation can be life transforming. I hope for every client who was fortunate enough to be in the audience yesterday had a life transforming experience and for those who didn’t at least walked away with something they didn’t come into the presentation with. I know I did. Hopefully, the next time Michael Scarry offers to return to speak to our clients again, even more can hear his story and through his successes, invent their own, and be motivated by change and hope, by someone who against all odds, has reinvented his life and is learning to live again.