The people best poised to carry the work of human transformation furthest forward are those who have traveled the furthest depths of themselves.Susan Olesek, EPP Founder
WHO ARE AMBASSADORS
Ambassadors are the hope that the Enneagram system works and that people can change.Those formerly incarcerated are the most powerful voice available to substantiate our vision: freeing people — all over the world — from the prisons of our own making.
THE AMBASSADOR PROGRAM
The ambassadors are change agents. They are the very reason why all of us at EPP are on a mission to change the way we do criminal reform. These courageous men and women who fell for themselves “on the inside” now provide a hope for how healing is not just possible, but it is happening.
WHAT IS THE AMBASSADOR PROGRAM
The EPP Ambassador Program is a fellowship of and for the formerly incarcerated designed to support our students on their life-long path of continued development. Our program supports these returning citizens in transferring the skills, talents, and resiliency they honed on the streets, in gangs, or behind bars, into productive and meaningful living.
EPP Ambassadors become spokespeople EPP and are in training to become EPP Guides – future teachers of our curriculum. These are courageous men and women who have overcome abhorrent abuse, familial dysfunction, and countless internal obstacles. They have weathered the criminal justice system. And they have managed to hold onto their hearts. Ambassadors are becoming EPP Guides who can teach a master’s class on the consequences of personal sacrifice, forgiveness, and how to open to the best in ourselves.
Without addressing my need to understand how I could have become an addict in the first place, I found myself serving a life sentence in the cell that is my own mind.
The person who is writing this letter is a real person today. Someone who takes care of himself, because, he knows he matters. My needs are important and these are some of the things that I did not know only three years ago. It’s crazy how a teacher can come in and make you feel like a real person and see you for who you really are.
As an inmate, I found myself lost and struggling to find out what had gone so wrong in my life that I no longer deserved freedom. As a student … I learned that I not only deserve freedom but that I also hold the key to my own personal freedom by simply taking an honest look at myself, my choices, and my behavior.
When I went to jail I was lost, and could not explain how or why I went down the path to end up behind bars…With the knowledge, I learned while incarcerated and the serious commitment by and to the Ambassador Program I am traveling on the best path I have ever been on in my life. I have learned how to be present, and to be in relationship in the moment without making others into objects onto which I paste my history, my projections or judgments because of my past.
AMBASSADORS STANDING IN THEIR OWN LIGHT
EPP witnesses changes big and small every day. There are some individuals, however, who “get” this work and are hell-bent on transforming their whole lives. Each quarter we would like to highlight EPP Ambassadors who have connected with their own essential goodness in such a way that they literally shine.
“The river of life flows from the inside out” is the truth by which Alex lives his life and is the truth by which he encourages others to live as well. Alex has an uncanny knack for knowing what needs to be said or heard, as well as how to say it so that it resonates with and impacts the hearer’s spirit in a way that is profound and life-changing. Being a recipient of the Bibleway Christian Center’s Legacy Award is an example of just that, making lives better through love and acceptance.
Alex’s story is one that consisted of significant pain, loss, and dysfunction, which led him to make choices that were neither healthy for him nor those around him. These destructive choices resulted in Alex spending a total of 26 years in and out of the California correctional system. In 2014 while serving his last term, he was introduced to the Enneagram, which as he says, “introduced Alex to Alex.”
Today, Alex is a father, grandfather, an ordained minister, certified drug and alcohol counselor, court liaison, mental health specialist, and program manager at Destiny Reentry center in San Jose, California. He serves as both an EPP Ambassador and Board member, is pursuing certification to become an Enneagram teacher, and speaks on behalf of EPP with a passion for helping people overcome many of the same challenges in life that he has endured. Alex is an advocate for the homeless and those that are living on the margins of society. He is also actively engaged in raising awareness and speaking out against the unjust and inhumane response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in prisons and jails across the nation. Alex has committed himself and his voice to be a bridge to foster understanding, support learning and transformation, and move individual and collective hearts toward the creation of a socially just and equitable world.
Sue Lambert is EPP’s Ambassador Liaison extraordinaire, a member of the EPP Ambassador Board of Directors, Co-Facilitator of EPP’s Reconnecting Support Group meetings, an EPP Guide, and an EPP faculty member. She is completing the last steps of achieving her Enneagram Certification/Teaching Certificate through the Narrative Tradition, and finishing the New Ventures West Integral Coaching program to become a Certified Life Coach. Sue is also an IEA (International Enneagram Association), Accredited Professional. She identifies with Type 1 on the Enneagram and loves to spend her time helping and supporting others as they navigate the challenges in their life, post-incarceration. Sue lives with her daughter, son-in-law, and grandkids and is “Nanny Granny” to them all. She feels a strong connection to her essential self when she is outside and enjoying nature, where she feels everything is “perfect” the way it is. Sue learned about the Enneagram and EPP behind bars, a place most of her life she never dreamed she would be. She had never been in trouble but soon realized she had been in trouble in many ways, most of her life, and now there she was, in the worst place she thought she could ever be. Sue’s story includes what she describes as a dark time in her life, where she was also able to find light, and one of those light beams was the union she found with EPP, an alliance Sue says has changed her life.
Clay Tumey was a successful, former bank robber who was serving time in a Texas prison when he was first introduced to the Enneagram. Though he felt freer on his first day in prison than he had in the years since turning himself in, Clay learned a freedom of another kind when he found himself as a Type 5 on the Enneagram. He took to this system as a way of remembering how to open his once-closed heart. Today, Clay is a dedicated father, author, soon to be certified teacher by Riso-Hudson and an Ambassador for Enneagram Prison Project as a national speaker, and inspirational model for personal transformation.