Shawn T. Blanchard speaks at Think Tank Bookclub and Workshop

Author of ‘How ‘Bout That for a Crack Baby: Keys to Mentoring and Success’

Cortez Davis El

VOD Staff Writer

November 28, 2017

Reform for the incarcerated comes from two unlikely sources, prisoners Jose Burgos and Doug Little, while Michigan is still debating what reform will look like in the days, months, and years to come. Those that need reform to take shape are held in limbo due to a power struggle among the so called elite on capitol hill. Everyone claims to have the answer to the problems, but nothing is getting done because there are a lot of big I’s and little U’s. Everyone wants to be in charge and no one wants to follow, so nothing gets done. However, that’s where Doug and Jose come into action.

Doug Little and Jose Burgos co-founded The Think Tank Bookclub and Workshop. This program is designed to promote reading and critical thinking among those that will one day return to society. The men mentor one another as a representation of positive reinforcement which is something that all people need in their lives. While the program is fairly new to the Thumb Correctional Facility, it has already gained the attention of an author of one of the books explored in the program.

Jose Burgos

Doug Little

Doug Little introduced the book “HOW ‘BOUT THAT FOR A “CRACK BABY “ by Shawn T. Blanchard to the group of men involved in the program. The book was an eye opener for many as it showcased the struggles of someone that ultimately turned his obstacles into opportunity that led to success. All that read the book were able to see themselves in it and take from the life of the author a new found outlook moving forward.

To have Shawn T. Blanchard, author, business man, mentor, community leader, and a rising star in the political arena take the time to share his life with the public is humbling to say the least. However, much more than that was done for the men at the Thumb Correctional Facility. The founders of the Think Tank Bookclub and Workshop, led by Doug Little reached out to the rising star Shawn T. Blanchard and invited him to come speak to the entire prison population. Setting himself apart from the norms of public life, Mr. Blanchard accepted the invitation and touched the lives of all that attended the event.

The goals are always to spark an interest in education and self improvement. With the help of all involved the goals were met with the added bonus of raising the self esteem of those that suffer from mental slavery and a lack of self acceptance. A big thank you is due to Doug Little and Jose Burgos for creating the learning and growing environment and to the great Shawn T. Blanchard for being the face of what life can be for those that are willing to sacrifice the street life for hard work and true respect.

While many prisoners are waiting on a miracle from Lansing and prison officials, men like Doug and Jose know that miracles from career politicians may not ever come. It is the prisoners themselves that are returning to the communities and therefore it is their responsibility to champion the transformation that is needed to be successful upon release. Reform at the Thumb Correctional Facility is being pushed by prisoners for prisoners and Doug Little, Jose Burgos and many others are at the forefront of making a difference for the good of society and humanity as a whole.

Each one teach one is the mindset of the men that want to close the revolving doors to prison and with the help of leaders like Doug Little, Jose Burgos, Shawn T. Blanchard and many others that have survived the struggles of horrible lives, people in prison can restore the concept of rehabilitation and use their time to better themselves and their environment. We will not wait for help to come because we are who we are waiting on. Doug Little, Jose Burgos and many others are perfect examples of what the system can do when the people in it want to transform themselves and the people around them.

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