For Immediate ReleaseDecember 06, 2019
‘Wall of Change’ honorees tell success stories at special event
San Rafael, CA – Isadora Fisher said she is grateful every day for her life now. She didn’t always feel that way, especially after she found herself on probation.
“I struggled for 10 months unable to find work due to not being able to pass a background check,” the San Rafael resident said. “It was a constant reminder of what I had done.”
Best of all, she is sober.
Fisher was one of 13 people honored at the Marin County Civic Center’s Board of Supervisors chamber on December 4 for turning their lives around and becoming positive role models for others. They were the newest probationers honored on the Marin County Probation Department’s Wall of Change, where personal stories of their transformation are documented in the department’s lobby for all probationers to see.
In addition to Fisher, the honorees this year were (in alphabetical order) Gregory Bentley, Jorge Chab-Carillo, McHenry De Marquis, Ryan Dill, Quincy Engelbrecht, Elsa Glembotzki, Jesus Hernandez, Shawn Kessler, Bermin Mazariegos, James Renshaw, Kiley Townsend, and Pierre Tzannis.
Once a year, an emotional celebration is held for those who make it on the Wall of Change, selected by a committee for providing the most inspirational success stories of the year. The framed Wall of Change stories and photos include a first-person account from the probationer and words from their assigned probation coach. The annual ceremony also shows appreciation for the Probation officers and other supporters who sometimes find themselves as the only people who believe in the probationer.
About 200 people turned out for the ceremony, hosted by Probation Chief Michael Daly and his staff. San Rafael resident Michael Pritchard, a social advocate, youth counselor, and former probation officer, served as the guest speaker.
Daly said some people who have made bad life decisions and found themselves on probation face self-doubt about their ability to recover, act responsibility and lead a productive life. Compounding the challenge are the detrimental social labels placed on probationers and a lack of support systems in the community.
“We keep hearing year after year that new probationers see that Wall of Change and often make it a goal to appear on it,” Daly said. “We have this ceremony so they feel the support from the community for setting that goal and achieving it. A lot of times, the acknowledgement at our Wall of Change ceremony might be the first real public support and encouragement they have felt in their whole lives. Everyone who comes in contact with my staff needs to know the support system is there for them to succeed.”
For Fisher and many other Wall of Change honorees, it’s not just the Probation staff that proves vital to their transformation, but also trusted workers from law enforcement agencies, the judges of Marin County Superior Court, the Public Defender’s Office, detoxification centers, supportive nonprofits, social workers, and others.
“One big reason I got my current employment is because I got a letter of recommendation from my probation officers,” she said. “That meant the world to me. I finally got a call back one day weeks later saying, ‘I don’t know what you did, but your background check went through.’ It took total teamwork.”
And also family support.
“My father continues to inspire me with over 22 years in recovery himself,” Fisher added. “When I hit my bottom, he told me he would support me. Without him, I would not be here.”
Mitchell Street Pictures’ Vincent Cortez produced this short documentary video (19:16) that tells the stories of a few of this year’s Wall of Change honorees and the Probation employees who helped them.
Michael DalyChief Probation OfficerProbation Department
3501 Civic Center Dr.Suite 259San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-6602Email: Michael DalyProbation website