Since October our team in Wales have been taking Respect ME lessons into a prison in South Wales. This is the first time these lessons have been taken into this prison. We’ve delivered lessons covering topics including self-esteem and bullying. We spoke to Shunita, one member of the team, about how these sessions are going and how we can best support them:
Respect ME has primarily been used in high schools. Why is it important to take Respect ME lessons into prisons?
I think it’s important to bring awareness of the different topics, whether that’s self-esteem, bullying, respect etc. It encourages the young people to have compassion for one another as well as provoking discussions on the issues we cover. Whether it’s in a school or in a prison, every young person should have access to lessons that cover the topics Respect ME do. They should be provided with a space where they can talk openly and ask questions around the issues.
How do the young men respond as you share your faith and the Respect ME material?
They all respond differently. But on the most part they have been respectful and are quick to engage in discussion and conversations. One of the groups we’ve worked with have specifically enjoyed taking part in the games at the beginning of the sessions which lead to great, authentic conversations around the different points of the lessons.
During one lesson we were watching a testimony video and one of the guys responded with compassion for the person in the story and for what that person had been through. I personally felt really encouraged by that.
When you go into the prison to deliver these lessons, how do you feel?
This was my first time working in a prison and so it’s a totally new experience for me and I’ve felt a mixture of nerves and excitement. But I’ve learnt a lot and see it as a complete privilege to be able to go into the prison with my fellow colleagues Matt and Ashley and speak truth into the lives of those we work with.
How can we support you in prayer?
Please pray that as we go forward that we can continue to deliver these lessons in this prison. Pray that we build trust with these young people and are able to deliver the lessons in a way that relates to them. Ultimately, we want to see people grow closer to God and see their lives transformed by him.
Find out more about Respect ME by heading to respectme.co.uk