I just finished the book True Notebooks by Mark Salzman. It is the nonfiction account of the author's time spent volunteering in a Juvenile Detention Center in LA. Each boy had made terrible choices, and were waiting to be tried as adults, likely to end up in adult prisons for much of their lives. The author spends 2 days a week encouraging these boys to write and giving them a chance to be heard.
It reminded me of two talks I heard recently - the first, of course, is the talk by President Hinckely about Forgiveness. He spoke about a woman who was seriously injured because some teenagers threw a frozen turkey off of an overpass, which struck her car. She could have helped imprison one of the young men for many years, but instead chose to forgive the young man and helped find help for him to clean up his life. President Hinckely quoted the article - Forgiveness Has Power to Change Future
And the second is a talk I heard at Stake Conference a couple weeks ago. The speaker told a story about two neighbors who each had snowblowers. Every winter these two men had a little contest to see who could get out earlier and blow the snow off each other's drive. The speaker said that that was a fine thing to do, but across the street lived an elder man who struggled to shovel out his own drive. Why didn't the snowblowers try to help this man who didn't have a snowblower and was truly in need? The speaker talked about giving service, and that sometimes we need to get out of our comfort zone and help those who really need help.
I am not at a place where I could give service in a prison, but this book made me think about it. I really think that right now the service I give in my home is the most important, but as these little ones grow, it might be interesting to find a way to help incarcerated teen moms, or something like that.
These things have been running through my head lately. That is not the kind of service I have ever thought about doing before. I enjoy volunteering at school once a week, and I spend lots of time serving through my church calling. This fall I have also been helping with several different activities with the wives group, but I wonder if that time could be better spent serving those truly in need.