Editor Note 6-18-13
The Beat Within
Albuquerque New Mexico
By: Steve Serna
It’s a great feeling when I’m outside of work and one of the kids that has participated in the Beat Within sees me, and asks, “Are you still doing the Beat Within?”, yet they’ve been out of detention for two or three years. The impact The Beat Within has and will continue having on many of our youth is amazing to me. I am having some changes in my life right now that are going to be preventing me from doing the Beat, but for me it will only be a short time until I get things back in order. The other day I called David Inocencio about my situation and it was a phone call I never thought I would have to make.
As I was cleaning out the office this week, getting all my papers in order, I ran across the first e-mails I had exchanged with the Beat Within. I was amazed that it was 2006. I know it took me about eight months to get the Beat up and running here in Albuquerque, but now that I look back, the Beat has been running here in Albuquerque for the last five years every Wednesday on a consistent basis. During my time working with the Beat Within I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting David Inocencio, and doing two workshops with him here in New Mexico. I’ve also had the pleasure of writing the editor’s note at least four times. The Beat Within has also been recognized here nationally through JDAI, as well as through the program Youth Jam, and the New Mexico Law Association. During the last five years I’ve had the pleasure of creating three books for The Beat Within. These include “The voices of our youth”, “The voices of our youth 2” and “Illustrations from The Beat Within”. I also was able to create a web page for the Beat on a chat-base website. There is more, but I just wanted to let you all know the impact the Beat has had here in New Mexico. I have learned a lot from the Beat staff, but I also learned a great deal from the youth that have participated in the Beat.
When the Beat first started here in the Center, I was given a hard time by some of the staff because it is a correctional setting where I work, and being an officer of the Center, some staff didn’t agree with the Beat Within. The funny part is after about five months, the same staff that gave me a hard time saw the positive impact The Beat Within was having on the kids and in turn, they changed their outlook on the program and started asking me for a copy of the publication every week. Now that the Beat is taking a break here at the Center, several people have asked me who is going to be doing the Beat. Unfortunately, I have no answer for them, but as I’ve said before, once I get things back in order, I’ll figure out a way to get the Beat back running here in New Mexico.
I have seen too many positive changes to just let the Beat vanish. Every time I did a group, it felt good - not just for the kids, but for me knowing that a few were looking at life different. The kids knew they were not alone, and they saw first-hand how kids from around the world were having similar problems in life. They knew there was light at the end of the tunnel.
There is so much more I would like to say about the Beat Within and the positive impact it has had on the staff, various professional agencies, the kids and I, but with space limited I want to bring my words to a conclusion.
I want to thank David and all the Beat staff for all they have done for the kids. I would also like to thank Judge John J. Romero Jr. from the second judicial Court for being a great advocate for the program. I still get letters from around various facilities from New Mexico, so as I get them, I will be submitting them to the Beat. Not a goodbye, but a short break from Albuquerque New Mexico.