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By Board Member Arte Nathan.

“Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.”
Samuel Smiles

My friend Jon Ponder often does an exercise where he asks the Hope for Prisoners graduates to put their hands in front of their faces and tell him what they see. Do you see the lines on your hands, he asks; focus on those lines, he says; think about where those hands have been, he implores. Then he asks: can you see me? When they answer, “No”, he tells them neither can they see their future with their hands and their past in front of their eyes. But when he tells them to drop their hands, they then can see him and the possibilities their future holds. Because when any of us walk towards the sunshine of a hopeful tomorrow, our shadows and burdens tend to fall behind us. That’s the message of HOPE Jon gives at the amazing graduations that occur once each month for the men and women he helps reenter society. It’s a message that inspires them to pledge to make the rest of their lives the best of their lives.