Name:  Carina Jackson
Hometown:  Inkster, MI (Circle meets in Detroit)
Sponsor Organization:  Mariners Inn
Circle Start Date:  September 19, 2017


What attracted you to Ben Franklin Circles?


I learned about Ben Franklin Circles during my participation in the 92Y Ford Fellowship in June 2016. I was intrigued with the idea of actively working on the 13 Principles [Virtues] in my daily life. The principles are still relevant even though they were created years ago.


How did you recruit members for your Circle? Any lessons learned?


Mariners Inn is a human services organization that provides substance abuse and mental health treatment for homeless men as well as services to their families and to the community. We were able to recruit within the organization. Our circle includes board members, community members, staff and alumni from our program (men recovering from substance abuse and living outside of the program). Scheduling has been an issue, so we lost a few members. Initially we didn’t want to add new members to keep the group confidential, but we decided to open it by allowing current members to bring someone. At our last meeting, we had a member bring one of her friends. The guest said she was so glad that she came, had a great time, and would be returning. We talked about changing the meeting date (we meet the third Tuesday of the month), but decided to stick to what works for the majority, even if we miss a few members. Group meeting consistency is helpful because of everyone’s busy schedules. Reminders are sent one week and one day in advance of the meeting.

How has hosting a Ben Franklin Circle impacted you?


Hosting a Circle has made me more aware of how I implement the principles in my daily life. Many of the staff remind each other to stay focused, especially on the “silence” principle. Avoiding trifling conversations was more difficult than we thought, but we were always able to remind each other to focus on the principle. I serve as the COO of Mariners Inn. The Circle gives me an opportunity to be open and vulnerable with other staff members, which opens the lines of communication in our daily work.


Which virtue means the most to you personally and why?


Industry. I come from a large family and I have a lot of friends, so time is so important to me. In the last few years I have worked really hard at saying, “No”—which is a complete sentence—and not having guilt about it. The work I do has to be meaningful. The time I spend with family and friends has to be useful. I had to cut off all unnecessary activity. And now I sleep very well at night.


What is the last commitment you made to yourself? How’s it going?


I resolved to perform what I should. I am a procrastinator with my own personal business, so I need to focus on that in my free time. It hasn’t quite been a week yet, so I will have to get back to you on that. (I have a month to get started!)