RENEWAL Fosters Hope and Community among California Parolees

Donna Pedroza is a member of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, a spiritual and political organization that seeks to:
1. foster a New Bottom Line of love, generosity & ecological sensitivity in our economy,
education, media, & government;
2. foster a new global consciousness and solidarity;
3. promote awe, radical amazement, gratitude & developing an
inner spiritual life;
4. challenge the misuse of God & religion by the Religious Right and religio-phobia on the Left.
Donnan plans on introducing RENEWAL to the local NSP chapter in Alameda, CA, at their monthly film series. From here, we will devise a strategy to introduce it to their wider network.

However, this is only one part of Donna's story. She is also a therapist who works with parolees for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for the state of California. She has found that these men and women are in need of hope and community involvement in issues greater than themselves. Many of her parolees are involved in their particular faith community which provides them with both hope and social resources, especially in the face of aid cut backs in the past 30 years. Some of these parolees have started backyard gardens. Others are diligent in recycling...to make money. However, Donna has made them see the connection between these minor efforts and the larger issues of global warming and environmental stewardship and how they are contributing positively to both.

Donna plans on obtaining copies of RENEWAL to give to these parolees so that they can share them with their communities of faith. Thus, they can give back to the communities and become ministers as well as the ministered to. In a sense, Donna is using RENEWAL to help transform their lives through environmental awareness, stewardship, and service. Donna termed their new role "emissaries of goodness."

Donna also recognizes the connection between unemployment and the rise in green employment. She sees the homeless and lower class as prime candidates for training in green skilled labor that cannot be outsourced to other countries. She claims that RENEWAL could strengthen the development of this connection as well.

For more information on the Network of Spiritual Progressives, please visit www.spiritualprogressives.org 

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