Julia Lazareck, President of Friends and Family of Incarcerated Persons (FFIP) introduced Terrence Sampson at the December monthly meeting. Terrence gave a powerful, sensitive, and informative talk about his years of incarceration and how the love of family and friends helped him grow into the man he is today. He is is giving back so that children can learn from his experience and he helps youth affected by incarceration. Learn more about Terrence by reading the introduction and watching his presentation.
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TERRENCE SAMPSON INTRODUCTION
Terrence Sampson was incarcerated at the age of 12 for a violent crime he deeply and passionately regrets After 5 years in the juvenile system, he was transferred to the adult prison system as a 17-year-old kid, where he
spent the next 24 years growing up in prison. After almost three decades of the harsh realities of prison life, he was released from prison at the age of 42.
Paying his debt to society for the crime he committed as a child, he grew up in the juvenile justice and adult prison systems, learning to avoid and overcome the depths of depression, suicidal thoughts, gang affiliation, drug addiction and the utter feelings of hopelessness.
Determined to make the best of a grim situation and thanks to the support of his parents for his entire incarceration, he was able to achieve a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in literature, while also writing two memoirs, Chasing Redemption and A Message About Hope during his incarceration. Terrence Sampson also served as a peer educator for the Gang Renunciation and Disassociation program, where he mentored some of the most violent men in the Texas prison system.
Among the several programs he completed while incarcerated, he credits his participation in the Bridges to Life restorative justice program for helping him to understand the consequences of violence from the victim’s perspective. The experience propelled him toward embracing his purpose in life: to transform something destructive and painful into life enriching and empowering opportunities.
After spending nearly his entire life incarcerated, he is determined not to see another child experience what he went through in his life, before or during his incarceration. Now as the Executive Director of The All Youth Matter (AYM) Project, he is committed to helping people make positive changes and achieve their full potential. With a genuinely remorseful heart, he lives each day driven by the need to seek redemption for his childhood actions and to give back to society as much as possible.
In his presentation he shares his experience on overcoming adversity and the importance of making positive choices for success in life.