Dickie Oppen Jr.



“S*HIP PROECT” This type of program is important as we
teach people about anxiety and how to expand their comfort
zones. We would like to share with Prisoners how to
visualize success in there minds before they go through
the actual experience.

So, how do we use what I call the”Kindergarden Experience”
in other areas and on Offenders with low self-esteem?
Following my experience: How can disabled people feel
safe without their aids that provide so much comfort.

I have to admit prison can be used as comfort zone.
If not why do people keep coming back 2,3,4,5 times.
This cycle needs to be broke, So how do they move safely
from their old comfort zones to a new comfort zone.

If you look at people with disabilities moving from school
to college, or from prison to camp to work release and then
to their own apartment, we must remember that sometimes
all they’ve ever known is living with Mom and Dad, even until
they’er 40 or 50.

They never worked because they were dependent. This is a
whole chapter in itself. Comfort zones and anxiety arousal
are very real issues that need to be comfronted.

S*HIP want to create a simulated experience, like airline
pilots do, so people can visualizea situation in their minds
before they go through the actual exerience.

When a pilot lands in a snow storm in Chicago or during
a high wind in Salt Lakr City, it ‘s comforting to me to know
that they’ve been in this situation before and they know
how to handle it.

As you go through situations that challenge
you to expand your comfort zones and challenge your anxiety
arousal, think about how you might create for yourself a
simulator to deal with changes and personal growth.


Over the years, I have educated myself and worked with
Toastmsters International, and, for this work, I’ve been
named Area Governor of the year (District 9 ) of 2010-2011
by this Oganization. For the last fifteen years I have been
involved in mentoring throughout the prison system for a
number of programs and Organizations over the years.

One thing I have learned is ” Act with integrity, Serve with
respect, Work for people, even if it’s difficult.” If you want
people to be treated with respect and dignity, act with
integrity. So with love and respect, always show you care.

I believe the understanding begins when we talk to people,
but we also communicate in the way we treat people.
You see, words in themselves have no power until we
attach meaning and emotions.

For example, do you remember when you were a small
child? One of the sayings on the playground was: “Sticks and
Stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”
Well, that’s a load of garbage. Every one of us has been hurt by someones words.

In self-talk and labeling, words can be put-downs. So we
need to be careful with the words we use to talk about
people. Even in prison, we have to watch our words
because it can lead to violence.

By using our words in a positive manner, it leads to dignity.
Our dignity is not always in what we do, but in what we
understand. Our dignity is the state or quality of being
excellent, worthy,and honorable.

When my mentor exlained what a mentor is, he told me
that, “a mentor is someone who sees more in you than
you see in yourself.” The best way to mentor people
is to treat them as though they have already achieved
your greatest expectations.

Look at how you treat the people who are closest to you.
We all need role models. Role models are people who
seem to have achieved the things that are most important
to us. You can be a mentor to someone simply by believing
in them and encouraging them to be the best they can be.

People with disabilities have different levels of independence
in their lives, and their disabities dictate, to a point, how
much independence they can have. But, I beleive that
independence, as well as interdependence, can be
increased through positive mentoring.

Thanks for continuing to read my posts and following this
project. Your imput is valuable to me.

Be kind to one another.

Dickie Oppen Jr.
DOC #947545

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