A Letter To The Men of Pawsitive Change at Corcoran State Prison
by John Flores
I’ve spent the past 14 weeks with 16 men inside Corcoran State Prison as part of the Marley’s Mutts Pawsitive Change Program. Yesterday, we had graduation and I got to speak in front of the guys today to tell them what they meant to me. I cried about 10 seconds into speaking. I decided to share my speech with all of you. It’s not word for word but it’s pretty close. Here it is. And for Farmer and Lillard, the guys that couldn’t be there today, I hope this comes across your eyes at some time in the near future.
“If you open your heart, you can’t close your mind”
This wasn’t just my first class at Corcoran. This was my first class ever. When I joined this team I wasn’t sure how it was going to go down. I wasn’t sure how the other trainers were going to accept me and for sure didn’t know how you guys were going to accept me. All I know is I wanted to help.
I’ve seen what dogs did for my life and my goal has always been to help other people see it for theirs, too. So on that first day, when it was all awkward, I was awkward with you. On that first day you smiled, I smiled with you. When some of you shared private things with me that were bringing you down, I mourned with you but when some of you shared personal things that made you happy, I celebrated with you.
I remember hearing someone say that you guys feel like society forgot about you but I want you to know that, for what it’s worth, you’ve become part of my life. I bring a little piece of all you home every week I leave here. You’ve become who I talk about not only on social media but to my family, too. I don’t know what it’s like to walk in your shoes and I will never claim to but I do know what it’s like to spend the last 14 weeks with you and it’s been nothing short of amazing. I can imagine it feels like you have no choice in here sometimes but you do. You didn’t have to sign up for this class but you did. You didn’t have to show up but you did every week. You didn’t have to work with these dogs every day but you did. And it shows. At the end of the day you guys gave something to these dogs they either never had or lost somewhere along their journey and I know the dogs are thankful and I know all of us trainers are, as well.
Outside of seeing my only son being born this has been one of the most amazing experiences I know I will ever be a part of. I know I will go on and teach other classes at other prisons, and I know eventually I will be back here for another round. Every class will be special in its own way but there’s no memory like your first…and you guys will always be my first class. Words can’t describe the love I have in my heart for you guys. Thank you for letting me be part of this journey. I will make a promise to you guys, we will do everything we can to make sure we come back but you guys have to make sure you do everything you can to make sure we see you guys again. If you’re
not here next time we come back let it be because you guys got released out of this place. I love you guys. thank you.
Til we meet again,
** If you would like to help this program grow you can go to the Positive Change Prison Program donation page here **
Awesome photos provided by Cheryl Lynn Photography
September 12, 2017
August 22, 2017
August 14, 2017