G.O.G.I. Strong Readers

TaJuan Chester, Contributor

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My name is TaJuan Chester, Lead Facilitator for Getting Out By Going In (G.O.G.I.), a self-help group taught here on ‘A’ Yard at California State Prison, Los Angeles  County (CSP-LAC).

To facilitate GOGI is an honor, and brings me great joy, but more importantly I am afforded an opportunity to help and work with others. Through the forum of GOGI, we teach how to use positive decision-making tools which gives us the ability to live a better life and ultimately have a positive effect on our community, our family, and friends.

GOGI was introduced by an inmate named Andrew “Kicking Horse” McCarter, in 2013. After reading a GOGI book that was given to him through an obscure book fair exchange. Brother Kicking Horse was so enlightened and moved by what he had read about GOGI, that he petitioned the warden here at CSP-LAC for permission to teach this course to fellow inmates, and by the grace of God it was granted. Some might wonder, what exactly is GOGI? GOGI is a non-profit organization with a mission to empower people from all walks of life to make positive decisions, by utilizing the 12 tools of GOGI, which has significant meaning to those of us in prison who needed to do major work within this area. I know that for me and 300 other prisoners here on “A” yard who have successfully graduated from our 12-week program, that GOGI has become indispensable once we learned how to utilize the tools. GOGI has equipped us with positive coping skills. The ability to resolve conflicts in a thoughtful non-violent way and most importantly the understanding that we need to consciously control ourselves by using the smart part of our brains, and not succumbing to the emotional part of our brain, where we just ‘react’ to an action without thinking about how this reaction can hurt others, or ourselves. We are no longer subscribing to the old habit parts of our brains, where we gave up our power in the past by letting others think for us under the guise of tradition, gang code, and street rules. With the help of GOGI, we have learned how to become the bosses of our brains.

The members of “GOGI Strong” invite you to learn more by checking out the web site You can also Google our founder Coach Mara Leigh Taylor, who has a master in Psychology from the University of Pepperdine, and a Doctorate from California Southern University.

Please check in on us on a monthly basis via “Voices from “A” yard”.

I thank you for your time and for contributing some of your strength in helping us remain GOGI Strong!

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G.O.G.I. Strong Readers