Concert inspires hope at CCWF

For people incarcerated at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF), a recent livestream concert brought messages of hope. Following the Prison Fellowship Ministries mission to inspire the incarcerated, a special event was held April 2 to encourage positive attitude, hope and spiritual growth. Following safety protocols, incarcerated people gathered in the general population Visiting Rooms and Main Yard Chapel.

Community Resource Manager (CRM) Courtney Waybright was the driving force behind the event. In addition to the rehabilitative message, she had to ensure the event adhered to guidelines.

“I appreciate my Warden for believing in me and trusting that I could pull this event off in a safe and positive way,” she said. “I was deeply moved by the special performances and guest speakers. They inspired change and hope in our population, who were very grateful to have an event like this.”

CCWF concert featured two bands

Hillsong California and Chapel of Change both performed remotely via a live stream concert.

Bill Maxwell, Prison Fellowship Field Director for the Central Valley, was excited to see the event happen.

“It was such an honor to partner with CDCR staff to bring an event like this to CCWF. Hearing the (incarcerated attendees) directly express their appreciation to me gives me such joy. We call our events ‘hope events’ for a reason, because we want to bring hope to those who feel hopeless,” Maxwell said. “After the event, those who attended walked back with their heads held high and a smile on their face. Because, they were part of something special. Thank you to Warden Pallares and to CRM Waybright for trusting the Prison Fellowship to create some sort of change and hope at CCWF.”

Warden says event was worth the extra effort

Months of planning went into the event, perfecting every safety precaution.

“I have never had an event require as much attention to detail. We wanted to ensure every person was socially distanced and it complied with all protocols. In the end, the extra effort was worth it. I am proud we were able to be the only CDCR prison to host this event along with other facilities in the nation,” said Waybright.

Warden Pallares agreed, saying it was worth all the hard work.

“Our population was long overdue for a special event. Therefore, the livestreamed Hope event seemed like the perfect way to bring a sense of normalcy and positivity back to our institution,” the warden said. “We will provide recorded DVDs of the event to every housing unit so they can watch at their convenience.”

To view the 2021 Hope Events that took place across the United States, see their website.

Written by Lt. Gene Norman.

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