One recipient from a fundraiser held on San Quentin’s Lower Yard was 13-year-old Lewis Windham, son of inmate John Windham.
With more than $10,000 raised in total, the May 25 Amala Walk for Youth received about $600 from the men of San Quentin. Proceeds of the fundraiser went to scholarships for youngsters like Lewis to attend peace summits.
The Amala Foundation (www.amalafoundation.org) was founded by Vanessa Stone. It represents children from more than 20 countries, with 16 languages and various religions.
The foundation holds weeklong residential summer camps in Texas and California for teenagers from around the world. The California peace summit was held July 21-27 in Foresthill and accommodated 60 young men ages 14-18.
“This week was an incredibly powerful week for Lewis,” said Stone. “He was one of the most open, caring, kind and beautiful souls. He touched the heart of many of the youth. He was so excited to be there and it was a total gift to have him. He stood up and said to the entire group that he hadn’t ever before felt so much love and so much connection with so many different kinds of people like the love he feels within his own family.”
John talked about what it meant for having his son attend the peace summit. “I’m thankful to the Amala Foundation for giving him this experience at such a young age,” he said.
Communication between them is open and their personal experiences are always shared during the 10 years that his son has been visiting him, John said. “I was brought to tears when I read Vanessa’s words and felt so proud of my son,” adding, “The only roadblock from connecting with your child is you. Nothing can prevent you from reaching out and connecting in whatever way you are able.”