Everyone is Responsible for Success
September 19, 2016
Everyone is Responsible for Success
For two days in September, Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) staff came together to focus on getting #BackToBasics while helping others in need. Through the #HelpingHands Project (http://www.build-a-hand.com/), KDOC staff challenged each other to work together more effectively as a team while learning from each other and giving back.
During the project, staff divided into teams of three to build a prosthetic hand that will be distributed to residents of developing countries who do not have access to prosthetic devices. For a small glimpse of what life is like for those waiting to receive their newly-built prosthetic hand, group members were asked to place a koozie over their dominant hands as they built their prosthetic hand which also encouraged the teammates to rely on one another for support and assistance. Upon completion, each team provided a personal note and packaging for the recipient of their prosthetic hand.
“Completing this project as a team was incredibly fulfilling,” said Re-entry Administrator Sarah Barnhart. “Teams came together, showed great camaraderie and completed a task that is bigger than us all. We get busy in the day to day and often lose track of why we do what we do. The Helping Hands Project reminded us all that together, whether big or small, we can effect change. I think that was a message that we needed to be reminded of.”
KDOC’s #HelpingHands Project was part of a two-day summit to help staff refocus on the core principles of working in corrections and the reasons why they chose to work in this field. Every staff member plays a critical role in reducing offender recidivism and ensuring public safety, but sometimes the demanding nature of the work can result in professional fatigue, and the event's organizers hoped the project would help reenergize staff in their commitment.
“I enjoyed participating in a team activity, knowing that we made a difference to someone else,” said Norton Correctional Facility Classification Administrator Hazel Peterson. “The building of the hand seemed like it would be complicated with all the small parts and directions that I am not accustomed to using. We were advised that at some point during the building of the hand we would have to wear a cover over our dominant hand and continue with the project. This portion of the activity is where the relationship with my team began to develop. We had to communicate with each other and combine our non-dominant hand skills to complete steps of the assembly. It was amazing what we were able to accomplish.”
KDOC Program Consultant Kelsey McCune called the activity one of the best team building exercises she has ever completed.
“I have never walked away from a training exercise feeling more fulfilled, not only taking away personal growth but also having a positive impact on someone else’s life at the same time,” she said.
Corrections Secretary Joe Norwood joined the event to offer remarks, and guest speakers Jodi Sleyo of the Corrections Institute at the University of Cincinnati and Alex Holsinger, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, provided perspectives on core correctional practices, quality assurance and release planning. Staff also met in small groups to discuss a variety of topics. The summit then adjourned as staff returned to their offices and facilities throughout Kansas, prepared to work together to continue fulfilling the KDOC’s mission.
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