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The Roland Affect

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

On a hot summer Tuesday night in 2018, Hang Time’s number one Ambassador and

former offender Roland was running late to the weekly session and was trying to get there in

time to conduct his patented “Why You Mad or Glad” segment with the group. He made it into the jammed packed room just in time to do his thing. Before he started the exercise with the group, he told everyone that just as he was walking into the session he was approached by two guys walking down the street toward him. They approached him and asked him for money.

Street wise, Roland immediately knew what was likely to happen next, so he quickly began to talk with them and offered to help them. He told them to come inside Hang Time with him and they could get a hot meal and maybe even some help to get them off the streets asking for money. Based on his willingness to help them, they both just walked away and Roland entered Hang Time.

About 40 minutes into the Hang Time session, Roland saw someone approach the front door

and knock. Roland opened the door only to find one of the subjects who had approached him earlier standing there.The young man named Elias spoke with Roland for a few minutes at the door then Roland convinced him to join the Hang Time session in progress. When Roland introduced Elias to the group, he said “this is one of the dudes I was telling ya’ll about earlier, his name is Elias so ya’ll welcome him to Hang Time”. The group immediately gave him a warm welcome and began to praise Elias for making the choice to come to Hang Time instead of whatever he was going to do, just minutes earlier.

Much to our surprise, Elias admitted to the group that he and his were homeless and living in a car and that he had an addiction to heroin. He went on to admit that he and his friend were planning to “get money” for drugs and food any way they could which included robbing anyone they approached on the street and asked for cash. Amazingly, Elias said that his friend was absolutely going to rob Roland but had a change of heart when Roland sincerely offered them help.The Hang Time family showered him with praise for his candor and began to offer him help in a variety of ways. Elias sat and ate with the group and participated in our discussions until the program ended.

Before he left Hang Time he contacted his wife to pick him up. He was given toiletries and all the leftover food for him and his wife. He was also referred to a substance rehabilitation

program and provided with a variety of other resources like local soup kitchens, rooming

houses and sources for free clothing. The next day he contacted Hang Time staff and advised he was taking advantage of everything we provided to him and getting help for his addiction. We look forward to the day when Elias returns to Hang Time!

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