Chrisfino Kenyatta Leal

Chrisfino Kenyatta Leal

Chrisfino Kenyatta Leal

About: I was born in Pittsburgh, PA, but moved to San Diego, CA, at six months of age. The second of three boys, I was raised by my mother after my parents divorced. the lack of a father figure and early exposure to drugs and alcohol contributed to a distorted set of priorities and an irresponsible approach to life that eventually led to crime and prison. During my incarceration, I have committed myself to: taking full personal and moral responsibility for the crimes I have committed; identifying and addressing the causative factors of my criminal behavior; understanding the impact of such criminal behavior on myself, my victims, my family, my community, and society as a whole.

•     G.E.D. Graduate
•     Class Valedictorian, Associate of Arts Degree, Patten University, 2011 (3.95 GPA)
•     Active Participant in Victim Offender Education Group (V.O.E.G.) with Insight Prison Project (IPP)
•     Graduate/Facilitator of No More Tears
•     Graduate/Active Member/Facilitator of the San Quentin T.R.U.S.T
•     Outside Coordinator and member of Executive Committee of the San Quentin T.R.U.S.T.
•     Certified Peer Health Educator
•     Lead Facilitator of Centerforce’s Health Education classes
•     Lead Facilitator of Centerforces’s Level I, II, II trainings
•     Certified tutor for San Quentin’s Project R.E.A.C.H
•     Lead Facilitator/Facilitator-trainer of Breaking Barriers Program
•     Founding Member of The Last Mile Program
•     Designated Top Quora Writer in 2012
•     Selected writer of Quora’s best answers for limited distribution print collection in 2012

Skill Areas: Writing, Public Speaking, Group Facilitation, Team Player, Organizing, Leadership

Passions: Family, Mentoring Youth and Adults,Learning, Football

Life Goals: Short-term (1-5 years): (1) become facilitator of The Last Mile (2) continue to tutor/mentor/assist other men at San Quentin in achieving educational goals and overcoming detrimental cognitive and behavioral patterns; (3) continue to establish incontrovertible rehabilitative efforts and further develop insight to my life; (4) continue to develop effective parole board presentation strategy and realistic parole plans; (5) to earn a bachelor of Arts Degree in Non-Profit Management.

Long-term (5-10+ years): (1) obtain successful parole; (2) obtain/maintain gainful employment; (3) establish favorable credit and implement sustainable savings and investment plans; (4) volunteer as coach for youth sports; (5) mentor at-risk youth; (6) buy a home; (7) establish faith-based non-profit aimed at successful re-entry of formerly incarcerated men and women.

Best Memory: My fondest memories all revolve around my beloved Grandmother Mary Lucille Childs (AKA Nana). One that stands out most is Thanksgiving of 1990. Not only was it a day that my extended family gathered at my Nana’s house to eat and celebrate, but it was the last time that my immediate family, my mother Adrienne, my older brother Tony, and my younger brother Tiko, were all together. That day we gave thanks and spent time together as a family laughing and loving in a way that will always be special to me.

Regrets: My greatest regret in life is dropping out of school. At the time, 1 wanted to be cool and do the “party all the time” thing. I didn’t realize how huge of an impact that decision would have on my life and the lives of people I would later victimize. Dropping out of school was the first of a series of bad decisions that led me to the prison cell that I sit in today. That was perhaps the worst decision I’ve ever made.

3 Best Experiences: Learning how to drive; Graduating from College; Paroling from prison in 1991.

Childhood: For many years I lived in denial about my childhood, but today I’m able to acknowledge and accept it for what it truly was. Truth is, I was deeply impacted by the absence of my father and the fact that we moved around a lot. I struggled with feelings of abandonment and not feeling accepted.

Reasons for going to prison: I ended up in prison because I had lost control of my life. I lost control of my life through bad choices. l made bad choices because I was in denial. I was in denial because I wanted to cover up the painful experiences of my childhood. The painful experiences of my childhood stem mainly from being abandoned by my father, growing up poor, and moving around from place to place.

Successes: I realize this might be difficult to understand, but coming to prison actually saved my life. When I paroled in 1994, I left prison in the same condition that I was when I entered it in 1991. I was in deep denial about my life (who I was, what I experienced, how I truly felt, and why I responded to my feelings and unmet needs) and how my decision making affected others (victims, their families, my family, and the community). It wasn’t until I was back in prison with a life sentence that I realized that my life was a wreck and that I needed to change. I sought and found help in programs like No More Tears, T.R.U.S.T, V.O.E.G., and Breaking Barriers. The tools I developed in these programs empowered me to make affirmative steps towards change and developing personal accountability in my life. Today I’m no longer bound by denial instead I’m empowered through self-awareness, positive attitude, and a belief system grounded in principles that will meet my needs over time.

Personality: I’m definitely a people person, I’ve always been socially active and serious about whatever it is I’m engaged in. I enjoy being part of a team or groups of people that focuses on collaboration and get shi * done. I follow my gut and tend to get along well with others who are decisive. I have a strong work ethic and enjoy working with people who are focused, flexible, and determined to get shi* done. I get along well with people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds and I’m always looking to learn something new from those around me. I’m a fast learner, a team player and ready to earn my keep. I’m not afraid to make tough choices or step up when duty calls and I appreciate challenges.

My definition of success: My definition of success is overcoming adversity, exceeding my expectations, excelling against the odds. Success is breaking barriers, stepping outside of my comfort zone, and traveling uncharted waters. It’s setting new personal bests and never settling for less.

I’m inspired by my faith in God and both the good and not so good I see in the world today. I want to make a difference in the lives of others and use the tools I’ve developed to create opportunities and empower others.

Today I am motivated by a deep sense of responsibility to myself, my family, and my community. In 3 years I want to be a family man, a business owner, and good neighbor.

Two people for whom I have the utmost respect and admiration for are Chris Redlitz and Beverly Parenti. These two unbelievably passionate people have taught me so much and despite the circumstances have never stopped believing in me. Please read about how I would like to work with them in the future.

My support system consists of (refer to parole package).

At this time, I’m single, 44 year old, no children, and I can work either full or part time. I will be relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area. Initially I’ll be living in transitional housing to assist with successful reentry, but one of my goals is to get my own apartment and eventually buy a home of my own.