Inmates at the Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility got a special day Saturday thanks to the efforts of staff member Ashley Martin.
Martin’s usual job involves helping with the inmate incentive program, general office duties and writing memos. She’s a self-described paper-pusher with a heart for seeing the inmates here succeed.
She planned a day for the young men that included a basketball tournament, a Chick-Fil-A lunch, motivational speakers and a concert.
"I just wanted to create an event that would pump these inmates up and give them some hope,” said Martin.
”I appreciate it because we don't have too many people that take time out of their day to visit us and come see us. Just thankful for a lot of things these people do here,” said inmate LaeShojn Owen.
One of those visitors was former Husker defensive end, turned motivational speaker DeMoine Adams. His message to the inmates was to have a game plan for life.
"What are you willing to lose to win, because in order to win, you gotta lose something, you gotta make sacrifices,” Adams told the young men.
"Very motivational, very inspirational. Motivated me to get out, when I get out, to do something positive with my life,” said inmate Nauschkoniwaheega Hamilton.
In his speech to inmates, Adams compared their time of incarceration to a comma in a sentence. He inspired them to think of this as not the end, but a temporary pause.
"When you get tackled, that's not a period, that's a comma. But you have to write what comes next after that comma,” said Adams.
He encouraged the men to make changes while they are still at the facility, taking advantages of the resources offered such as a library and college courses.
"They're in here not because they're going to be in here forever, but what are they gonna do when they get out. So just helping them understand having a game plan,” Adams told KMTV.
While the young men are learning how to make better choices while in the facility, they are learning that there is still a community that supports them beyond these walls.
"This is time to think and make better decisions and think on what I'm going to do when I go home. So, when I get out there, that's when I can make my decisions,” said Owen.
Martin was happy to see the inmates happy, and hopes they take what they’ve learned today to heart.
“This was worth it, this entire event made it worth it for me, if one of them can change from that,” said Martin.