Archives for March 2014

Petaluma ex-con force for inmate rehabilitation

March 14, 2014

The Press Democract ran this article about Michael. The key line for me was,“Re-entry for me began the day I was convicted,” &  “I wanted to be able to put on a suit and tie and have nobody know I’ve served time in prison.”

All of Michael’s goals followed his commitment to prepare. I hope our readers find value in this article, as I did, and share it with those who could benefit.

Justin Paperny

Training Day at Ventura County Office Of Education

March 12, 2014

Several weeks ago we reached an agreement to work with the Ventura County Office of Education. Today I conducted a Straight-A Guide Training with two teachers who will lead the program inside the juvenile hall. Visiting with the teachers really inspired me. You could see the commitment they have to helping their students succeed. They totally saw the value in implementing a program created by someone who had not just traveled through the system, but who thrived through the system. They mentioned many of their students had already begun asking for copies of Michael’s books. For this 50-hour, 12-week program, the students will read Earning Freedom and Success. Those books, of course, are on top of the lessons plans and videos they will watch.

I received a note from Director of Student Services, Paul Marietti, that the training went well and that the teachers are excited to begin. Speaking of beginning our pilot with Ventura will begin in early April.

Justin Paperny

Reaching Out

March 10, 2014

I spent several hours today reaching out to contacts of mine who own companies that could hire employees through the our staffing company. I stressed that each employee would be trained through our Straight-A Guide Jobs Program. As a result of these calls I have three appointments lined up this week. I will write about my progress following each meeting. Also, Caryn has been developing a number of employment relationships and we are discussing how the MGSF could be involved. We are also gaining traction with our program in Stockton. A new class will be beginning at Fathers & Families.

Justin Paperny

LA Marathon

March 9, 2014

I ran the marathon today for charity. I should say I ran half of it, and my friend covered the last 13.1 miles. The race began at Dodger Stadium and ended in Santa Monica. I grew up in LA and have seen it change over the years. That said, I say the streets of downtown differently as a runner. We must have weaved around the Courthouse once or twice. While running by I could not help thinking of my experience in front of Judge Wilson many years ago. But the moments were not filled with anger. Rather, I was pleased at how far I had come. In prison I met Michael who encouraged me to use my time wisely. For me that meant waking early, reading extensively, learning, and running. Running helped me set clearly defined goals. When I would hit them I would become more confident. Now, as we encourage our Straight-A Guide members to do, I always track my progress. Am I writing a blog every day? Am I spending as much time with my family as I committed to? Am I hitting my running goals of 150 a month? Accountability logs, or our 4th A, keep me on track. Then when I hit or exceed each goal, I feel that same sense of self worth I developed in prison. It is part of the reason my prison experience was so wonderful. I worked daily to pursue my values, and in doing, documented the journey to show others how to do it. Michael laid out the template and I choose to follow it. As a result my life changed. Others in our program are generating the same result.

Justin Paperny


Straight-A Guide Staffing

March 8, 2014

I spent the morning on some administrative issues for our Staffing Company. I had to compute the payment to the Workers Compensation Insurance Fund, and also update each employees file in Salesforce. Additionally, I phoned each of our four employees to let them know that Michael and I are receiving wonderful feedback for their work. According to our contact at Golden State Lumber the men are “respectful, grateful, hardworking and appreciative.” Those are key principles we teach through our program and it pleases me the men are internalizing the message. This group of employees is setting the tone for others down the road who will need employment. They are ready to accept that responsibility.

I have lined up two meetings in Los Angeles next week. I will meet with two business owners interested in hiring graduates of our Straight-A Guide Program.

Justin Paperny


Michael Santos on Conquering America’s Commitment to Mass Incarceration

March 6, 2014

Emma Hartung, a Stanford student, wrote the following article following Michael’s NAACP sponsored talk at Stanford on January 29, 2014.

I shared this article with colleagues who may be in a position to invite Michael to speak about his  journey and mass incarceration.

Justin Paperny

Golden State Lumber

March 4, 2014

Attached is a video the Record created as part of their story on our jobs program with Golden State Lumber and Fathers & Families. I am thankful to all of our sponsors, including The California Wellness Foundation, Sierra Health Foundation, The Cornerstone Project and Councilman Michael Tubbs for helping bring this project to Stockton.

Justin Paperny

Straight-A Guide Graduate, Devin Carel

March 3, 2014

Today I spent time doing some administrative work relating to our staffing company. In that process, I received a photo from Andrew Lucero, our main facilitator at Fathers & Families. He sent a photo of Devin Carel, a Straight-A Guide Graduate and new employee of Straight-A Guide Staffing Solutions. He began working at Golden State Lumber last Friday. A cliche holds that a photo is worth a thousand words. It pleases me to share it.

Justin Paperny


Stockton Record

March 2, 2014

This morning the Stockton Record ran a cover story highlighting the work we are doing to bring employment opportunities to the formerly incarcerated in Stockton. While working from home today I emailed more than 300 people in our database the article with a note. The link to the article follows.

Justin Paperny



March 1, 2014

I spent time in the morning working with Michael and Caryn on our staffing model. Caryn is bringing incredible ideas to the mix, and her ability to so quickly embrace all the principles of the Straight-A Guide is impressive. She has a passion for training the formerly incarcerated, and in helping them secure employment positions. Both Michael and I are excited to be working along side her.

In the afternoon, I wrote a series of thank you cards, and ran 10 miles.

Justin Paperny