Grady, our adopted tabby cat, came to live with us eight years ago. He had a sizable chip on his shoulder, and a look that said, “What took you so long to bring me home?”
It took a long time to smooth the chip off, but eventually, he accepted 30 seconds of affection in addition to feeding time strokes he loudly demands. Over time he adopted our corgi, Casey, and now accompanies us on morning walks.
Like most cats, if you move it, add it or change it in any way, and he will know. His curiosity fuels a frequently played game of “keep out of my glass.” He jumps on the table; I move the glass. He acts insulted, disappears for a short time only to reappear after my glass is back on the table. Mostly he wins, sipping on the liquid, hot or cold. Driven by curiosity, he’s the king of I wonder.
I wonder questions always possess some level of curiosity. For mere humans, such questions trigger as much doubt as fascination, bewilderment and total confusion. If you wonder long enough, you’ll stumble right into skepticism and possible surprise.
Curiosity is essential for donors who are intent on impact, determined to make a difference. Like Grady, first curiosity, then determination, stealth, and investigation.
Recently, this paper published an editorial with the headline “Do not fight sensible prison-reform ideas.” Mostly addressing the status of the First Step Act of 2018, the writer admonished Congress as the swamp of politics threatens to prevent specific federal prison reforms. With a $50-million-dollar impact, it would expand the number of days a person spends in a halfway house on good behavior, ban the shackling of pregnant women and seek to confine prisoners to facilities within 500 driving miles of their families. Those sound like appropriate reforms.
Meanwhile here in Texas, we pay 3.3 billion dollars for incarceration, not including pardons and parole. That adds another 190 million dollars to the budget.
After spending that much money, why do we feel unsafe when felons, who paid their debt to society, re-enter our communities? According to a 2016 report to the Texas Legislature, 46 percent of criminals re-offend within three years of leaving prison and, as well, 62 percent of those leaving state jails. The re-entry side of the equation is not working.
Did you know, right here in Smith County, two small programs need donors like us? This is when a curious donor makes a difference.
At Goodwill of East Texas, a small program called Second Chance for Her serves women who are re-entering our community after incarceration, assisting with job readiness, counseling, soft skills training and job placement assessment. Supported by grants, donors and some funds from the Goodwill Industries of East Texas budget, they are successful at helping women in the program avoid a return to prison. Learn more about the program at https://www.goodwilleasttexas.com/services/second-chance-for-her.