Quaker values upheld within the AFSC have profoundly affected my personal and professional life. It has been my privilege to learn from those Friends who taught me (and oh, I have wonderful stories of how I was “corrected”). I am able with deep conviction to see the good in everyone.
We deal with issues of the worst torture, humiliation and degradation that one person can do to another. We remain able and willing to work with those responsible to create real social change – i.e. the closing of the “gang” unit in NJ, the explosion of national interest in the use of and mass imprisonment isolation addressed by the AFSC for decades.
I have embraced mothers and fathers, I have counseled children, I have worked with Commissioners of Correction and prison staff throughout the country, I have helped ex-prisoners move through symptoms of post-traumatic stress, I have cradled students and volunteers reading or listening to the traumatizing testimonies which come to the AFSC via mail and phone. We have educated legislators, students, church groups, prison staff – all of which is profoundly moving to me.
It has been my honor to do this work, to learn from people of all faiths and persuasions. Working with the Service Committee in more than one program has taught me tact, humility and the ability to reflect the good in all of us. My family has also been profoundly impacted by seeing Quaker values at work.