“You can’t take someone who has grown up, who hasn’t seen any of this for their entire life except maybe seen it on television, and – I went to Princeton, and came back with my degree, and now I want to work with kids!
You also have to remember that these kids are being raised in areas where they are not interacting with people of other races. They’ve been taught that White people run the world. And then you put a White therapist in front of them?”
-Patrick Mims, Alumnus, San Quentin Prison University Project
We all want to help.
But what a lesson to us all from Patrick Mims, a former inmate at San Quentin who now is pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Work. If you are giving advice, make sure it’s wanted — and warranted.
We need to come from a space of understanding. If you are helping someone work through an issue, have the humility to understand when you are a helper – or a listener. An advisor, or an encourager. A seer or a follower.
Advise on what you know. Encourage at all times
Patrick Mims works as a supervisor at Bay Area Women Against Rape (BAWAR) for the Sexually Exploited Minors Program. In addition, he is a facilitator and presenter for Insight-Out, which is an organization that works with schools and youth programs to change the course of young people’s lives. He is a subject matter expert on the kinds of populations they serve.