Kid C.A.T. (Creating Awareness Together) 

Photo: The Men of Kid C.A.T., California Men's Colony (CMC-West), San Luis Obispo​

Kid CAT (Creating Awareness Together) is a group of men who committed their crimes in their teens and were sentenced as adults to life terms. The group’s mission is to inspire humanity through education, mentorship and restorative practices. Originally created by the Kid C.A.T. Co-Founders, the San Quentin based prison program continues to be successfully led by the men on the inside - alongside their volunteer and staff support - in a number of prisons within the California Depertment of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

While at the California Men's Colony, Mike Nelson replicated the Kid C.A.T. program, with the support of the Chief Sponsor, Lt. Patrick Noland. By the time Mike paroled, the members of the Inmate Leisure Time Activity Group (ILTAG) completed a version of The First Step curriculum training, and began talks of an annual fundraiser - the Remember Everyone Deployed (R.E.D.) Holiday Box Drive. Similar to the Hygiene Drive for Homeless Children of San Quentin, the CMC drive aims to be of service to others, while creating awareness about the service men and women who graduated from The Grizzly Academy of San Luis Obispo at a point in their lives when they were seen as "at-risk". 

The R.E.D. Friday Holiday Box Drive ends November 18th.


 The items approved to fill the boxes are as follows:


  • Gatorade/Powerade (powder)

  • Disposable camer

  • Socks/gloves

  • Xmas decorations

  • Beef jerkey

  • Soccer/football

  • Crossword puzzles/work searchers/paper books

  • Protein bars

  • Canned cheese (whipped)

  • Batteries

  • Hard Candy

The men of CMC have set the goal to fill 100 boxes by their deadline.

As we learn how to best support the men and program of CMC, we will work out the kinks  of web design and the ins-and-outs of fundraising; please have patience with us as we ask you for your input and expertise. For now, we ask that if you are in the Bay Area, in the Message section below, please indicate your location and we will come to you to pick up your contributions. If you do not live in the Bay Area, please note this in the same section, and Kid C.A.T. Director, Mike Nelson, will be in touch to work out the details. 

The First Step is a concept and curriculum designed by the

Co-Founders of Kid C.A.T., with the help of outside community volunteers.

Originally, at the onset of the program's development, San Quentin's Lt. Samuel Robinson asked the men to produce something that would benefit the San Quentin General Population; they came up with the idea of a self-help curriculum that would address the areas that they felt were lacking in other -at that point- current programs. They also decided to create a course that felt assessable to all those who participated, one that might feel less "intense." They named their idea: The First Step (in response to the Insight Prison Project (IPP) program, Next Step). 

In collaboration with IPP, namely Jamie Karroll and Sonya Shah, Kid C.A.T. also partnered with faculty and students from Sonoma State University and the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). The primary author being Mike Nelson, the Co-Founders all chose a topic for each module. Throughout the creative process, a number of individuals dedicated a great deal of their energy, time, and love into designing what is now known as a childhood development course. The following deserve acknowledgement for their knowledge, experience, capacity, expertise, and gifts:

Michael Tyler, Borey Peejay Ai, Nghiep Ke Lam, Vinny Nguyen, Nou Thao, Antoine Aziz Brown, Gary Malachi Scott, Charlie Spence (current Kid C.A.T. Chairman of San Quentin), Jamie Karroll, Sonya Shah, Dr. Monique Le Sarre, Woody Dee Wu, Hera Chan, Eliza Bruce, and original staff sponsor, Michelle Rochelle, for her encouragement, support and belief in the men and their vision. 

The First Step would also not be possible if it were not for of the inside and community facilitators, past and present. 

According to the Kid C.A.T. Speaks, of the San Quentin News:

The curriculum’s objective is to help participants address the root causes of criminal thinking, childhood trauma and violent behavior. It accomplishes this by helping participants explore three phases of their lives:

• Past (childhood to pre-conviction)

• Present (current incarceration)

• Future (post-release)

The 26-week curriculum is broken into eight modules:

  1. Masculinity

  2. Self-identity

  3. Identifying Emotions

  4. Consequences

  5. Communication

  6. Environmental Influences 

  7. Compassion

  8. Empathy and Forgiveness

A typical session consists of written assignments, self- exploration, lectures and group discussion.

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Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word that means non-harm, and non-violence.