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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas, March 26, 2016 — There are about 18,000 men and women in Arkansas prisons, but a lucky few at the Tucker Maximum Security Prison are partnering with a local ice cream shop to raise awareness about nonviolence in the community.
In a unique partnership, Loblolly Creamery is creating the Compassion Mix Sundae for a one day ice cream social from 10am to 5pm at the Green Corner Store at 1423 Main Street in downtown Little Rock.
This decadent treat was envisioned by James Rhodes, an inmate at the Maximum Security Prison.
Compassion Works for All, a prison outreach nonprofit based in Little Rock, visits men at the Maximum Security Unit to lead a conflict resolution course called Compassionate Communication. This is the second cohort to graduate from this new program.
Inmate James Green says about the class, “I became more aware of how my words can escalate a situation and potentially lead to a violent confrontation. I enjoyed learning more about how being an active listener can defuse any and all potential conflicts at the outset.”
That is exactly what Morgan Holladay, executive director of Compassion Works for All, wants the community to know about people in prison. “Effective communication is an integral part of our relationships with others. Many of our guys never learned basic skills to connect with people, so violence becomes the language they use.” Compassionate Communication provides skills for defusing conflict, actively listening and developing empathy for others.
Sally Mengel, owner of Loblolly Creamery, is more than an ice cream connoisseur. She is a philanthropist with a vision to connect people and delicious, good quality food. Mengel will visit the prison to serve ice cream sundaes at the Compassionate Communication graduation ceremony.
“Loblolly Creamery is really excited to partner with Compassion Works for All and help spread the word about their awesome programs ” says Sally Mengel.
“Sally asked the Compassionate Communication class to come up with flavor ideas for the event on Saturday, but none of them have ever tasted, or even heard of artisan ice cream,” Holladay said. “These guys moved beyond the excitement of getting really delicious ice cream and took this project, without any instruction, to a place of healing.”
Here are some of the ideas that their conflict resolution class created:
UNITY with Compassion — Rainbow with all colors with cherry in the middle! Cherry for compassion, rainbow for all people.
Compassion Works—I dare you to just try it! — Float flavors: strawberry, vanilla, banana, chocolate with pecans for a topping. Flavors are symbolic of mankind worldwide.
Love Thy Neighbor — (Float) choice of two ice creams, crushed walnuts (optional) Papaya or mangoes in the middle, two small slices of pound cake on each side, covered with chocolate and a small scoop of whip cream. This idea is to take someone to Loblolly Creamery as an act of forgiveness for some mistake they have made no matter how big or small and sit with them as they eat the ice cream. And see what happens!
The Compassion Mix Sundae will be available on Saturday, March 26 at the Green Corner Store, following the March 23 Compassionate Communication graduation. Graduates will have their first artisan ice cream sundaes.
The cherry on top is that when you purchase this treat, Loblolly will donate the proceeds and their tips to Compassion Works for All to support the Compassionate Communication Program. Additionally, Loblolly is donating ice cream on March 23 to the Compassionate Communication graduates for their reception! It doesn’t get any sweeter.