Letters to My Son in Prison is not just about my son’s misfortune. As a result of his reckless action, a man named Rod Bennett lost his life. He was a man who, among other things, taught, cared for, and inspired junior high school students. In particular, he was a gifted music teacher.
Because of the void his absence caused in the world, a significant portion of the proceeds from the sales of Letters to My Son is being donated to a nonprofit dedicated to helping students in the Santa Clarita Valley, including the students where Rod worked.
The nonprofit 501(c)(3) is called The New Way. The organization primarily helps students who are homeless or “unhoused” (which means sharing a home with many others or moving frequently between homes). Teachers and counselors within the schools identify the highest-need students and bring them to the attention of The New Way so they can be helped.
For example, a counselor discovered that a single mother and her junior high-school-aged daughter were only days away from sleeping in their car. The counselor told The New Way about this, and the group secured the mother significantly reduced rent for a month at a local Motel 8, which is owned by a donor. The nonprofit then worked with local apartments to find a suitable long-term home for the woman and her daughter and assisted them in getting set up there.
The nonprofit has also made donations to the music program at the junior high school where Rod worked.
This is Jess Guidroz, founder of The New Way, with his Junior High students.