Russell T. Hartsaw
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Hello, grab a cup of coffee and join me for a few minutes.
If you are like most people I know, you will want your life to mean something, to know that you have made a difference and all your effort has been worth while.
It is my belief that deep down (as I am sure it is yours) we all want to live lives of significance. We want our lives to mean something, to know that it has all been worthwhile and that we have made a difference to the lives of people around us.
If you are like many people I have met you will be unsure as to what your life's purpose is. In fact you may be unsure of whether you will actually achieve the dreams that lie within you. You will know of people around you who have had big dreams which they failed to realize. Like me I am sure you find this a great tragedy and you will not want this to be the case for you.
What excites me now is that with the right strategies in place you can discover your purpose and achieve your dreams. You can live a life of real significance and make a massive difference not only in your own life but in the lives of those around you.
I have discovered my life's purpose.
Now you do not need to travel to the ends of the earth to discover your purpose in life. What I have discovered is that with the right strategies you can discover your purpose and become someone of significance.
Through-out these years I have committed myself to a process of discovery and learning. I have read hundreds of books and attended countless seminars, as well as completing a Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration.
This commitment to education has led to the discovery of the strategies and techniques required to enable me to have a huge impact on not only my own life but of those around me.
As a result I have planned, organized and implemented the Invisible Youth Network on March 26, 2007. With a few friends and volunteers, the Invisible Youth Network has become a reality and has accomplished much.
You have the ability within you to create your own story and embark on a journey of living a life of significance. Of course, your journey will be very different from mine. What you end up doing or creating will be in line with your purpose, and the skills that you have. But what is important is that you choose to live a life that matters.
One Man can do anything that he sets his goals upon, I did!
I am not a people person and this is why:
Yes there are exceptions to the above, they are however few and far between. If you are one of them I applaud you.
The government has bailed-out the financial institutions (Corporate America), and is talking about bailing-out the auto industry (Corporate America). However, what have they done or will do for the homeless, unemployed and for those that do not have health insurance.
As usual, it is all about Corporate America and not the people. There is no bailout for them in sight.
I remember back in the day where neighborhoods were like a big family. Everyone knew everyone, everyone looked out for each other, everyone kept an eye on each other's kids and pets, holidays and weekend barbecues was a big neighborhood event. And so much more.
Sadly those days are long gone. Today there are people who live in the same neighborhood that do not even know each other, and do not want to.
I believe on how one feel lays within their own self-management. We only have to watch the morning news to be aware of all of the negatives going on around us, and then we can choose to program ourselves to exist among all of the negatives. or program ourselves to exist among all of the positives that effect us.
It is all about mind set.
Have you ever noticed while watching the television news broadcast their broadcast is about sensationalism, politicians and celebrities? They cater to the rich, famous, and not everyday people that make-up their viewing audiences.
I believe a large majority of people have dug themselves into a rut in life. And will never be able to pull themselves out of it, because they do not feel comfortable with changes.
How many people are trying to fulfill their dream? Or are they trying to identify a dream to fulfill?
What would you say to the child down the street? Knowing he went to bed without a thing to eat?
Would you offer to help Would you really care? Would you be indifferent since you are not there?
Did you try and join in to help him out? Or did you ignore him not hearing him shout?
While others tormented him, coming from school. Did you say anything or just act the fool?
Did you wipe his tears and give him a smile. Or go through the years missing a child, and his trials.
Dana Lefey Maeve
Russell has a wonderful dream of building shelters (starting with one in San Diego) for young people who need a place to stay while bettering their lives.
Russell is already going ahead and doing what he can.
It's very common to find him using part of his own limited paycheck to buy food and other items to take to young people in his area who have created their own little village of homeless youth in part of Balboa Park, and they're always very happy to see him coming!
Not only does Russell bring them items that they need, but he's a natural with the kids, because he doesn't talk down to them and, most importantly, he doesn't LOOK down on them, either.
He has been there and done that he understands!
If you would like to comment on any of the subjects on this site e-mail your comment using our e-mail portal at the bottom of this site.
We will publish your comment, using your first name only.
Russell has been a guest speaker at San Diego City College and San Diego State University on several occasions.
As well Russell has been the subject of several media interviews.
Incarcerated 44 Years - Part I
Russell was deserted by his parents at the age of nine. Russell came home from school one day and found his parents missing, and the mobile home that they lived in. Many years have passed since that date. And Russell has no idea of what happened to his parents.
Russell was made a ward of the court and placed in the Children's home at West Palm Beach, Florida. Russell's favorite pastime at the children's home was running away. It did not take Russell long to earn his way into the Florida School for Boys at Marianna, Florida.
Marianna was a place that no kid should have to endure. The rules were impossible. The peer pressure was even worse. The punishment for violating the schools rules were lashes from a leather whip. Russell was whipped twice in 18 months.
18 months later Russell was released from Marianna, with a heart of cold steel and a major attitude. Russell was placed with a foster care family until the age of 16. At which time Russell decided to go out on his own, destination California by thumb.
Russell arrived in California approximately one year later, (with many diversions in between, including several unwilling stops at several juvenile halls between Florida and California.) A minor traveling across country by thumb is frowned upon.
Upon arriving in Los Angeles, California at the age of 17, Russell easily met other street kids. (And fell in with them and their activities.) These activities included, but were not limited to burglary, drugs and shoplifting.
Within a few months Russell was sentenced to the California Youth Authority for a two year sentence on a charge of burglary. Russell was released from the California Youth Authority a few months short of his 20th birthday. Russell relocated to San Francisco, California, where he continued to support himself by whatever means possible.
Russell maintained a wild streak. And decided he wanted to make more money and upgrade his lifestyle. Russell robbed his first bank and two more banks. On his fourth bank, Russell was caught and sentenced to 20 years in the Federal Prison System. (Which Russell turned into a total of 44 years of incarceration.)
Incarcerated 44 Years - Part II
The United States Penitentiary (USP) in Florence, Colorado, is a high security facility housing male offenders. It is part of the Florence Federal Correctional Complex (FCC)
USP Florence is located on State Highway 67, 90 miles south of Denver, 45 miles south of Colorado Springs, and 40 miles west of Pueblo.
On May 8, 2003, Russell was released from the United States Penitentiary, Florence, Colorado, one of the most dangerous United States Penitentiaries within the Federal Prison System that predominantly houses gang members.
This penitentiary was on total lock-down every few weeks due violence between the gang members.
Upon Russell's release after a total of 44 years of incarceration Russell was instructed to report to a contract federal halfway house in San Diego, California. This contract halfway house was known as Correctional Alternatives, Inc, located at 35th and Oceanview Avenue. This was a section of the San Diego County Work Furlough Program, owned by a father and son that had a contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons as a transition program, supposedly helping people being released from prison to make a transition back into the community. For approximately 90 days.
The only services that they provided were a bunk bed in a dormitory setting, three T.V. dinner size meals a day and two bus tokens a day. No medical services, no toilet articles, no clothing and no job lead. However the Federal Bureau of Prisons paid them big money to provide us with needed services. The only money that we had was whatever we were able to save from our prison jobs. In prison, prison jobs paid from $0.11 - $1.25 an hour depending on your job. Russell worked as an Adult Continuing Education instructor and made $.80 an hour. Russell was released with $500.00. This went for clothing, hygiene supplies and a bus pass.
Russell does not want to bore you with a lot of details. So Russell will move on.
For a period of time Russell looked for a job daily. The bottom line was because of Russell's long history of incarceration, Russell's age and physical health Russell was not employable.
While incarcerated Russell was taken to an outside hospital for major surgery and was diagnosed with Crone's disease. If not treated it could easily kill you. But it is not contagious. As a result Russell qualified for SSI and was approved for it.
Russell total monthly income is $940.00. Can you imagine living in San Diego, California on $940.00 a month?
In October 1, 2003 Russell was released from Correctional Alternatives, Inc., and got a room at the Trolley Court Residential Hotel.
A room at the Trolley Court easily eats up half of Russell's monthly income. For approximately two years Russell was going to the local Plasma Center and selling a pint of Plasma twice a week for $20.00 each time, to supplement Russell's income.
Until one day Russell walked out of the Plasma Center and fell to the sidewalk with a stroke. That ended Russell plasma giving and additional income.
When Russell arrived in San Diego, Russell arrived with $500, a 90 day stay in a so called halfway house, no family, no friends, no community ties whatsoever.
Russell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration in the prison college program.
In the last five years Russell started an online organization Invisible Youth Network, responses are few and far between, as no one cared about these issues.
The one thing that Russell wants more than anything that Russell can think of is a dog. A dog to love, take care of and go on walks with. But no pets are allowed at the Trolley Court. And with Russell's limited income Russell will never be able to afford a place where dogs are allowed.
One day while walking through the Salvation Army Thrift Shop Russell came across a large dirty stuffed dog. Russell took him home with him, gave him a shower, brushed him out and named him Rascal. He has been with Russell for four years. Russell loves this stuffed animal more than he loves himself. Russell comes home to Rascal instead of an empty room at the Trolley Court.
Russell believes that the thing that has the most profound effect on him is the knowledge that he is walking the streets of life alone.
The Assistant Chief' of Police here in San Diego, California bought Russell a computer, to encourage Russell to continue his online endeavors. This is now the Invisible Youth Network and Russell Online. She is also a Professor of Law at two universities. Russell has spoken at her classes on several occasions. And she and Russell remain very good friends.
How we met and became friends, is another story.
Russell will be the first to admit that Russell does not deserve any special considerations. Russell has made his choices in life, a large majority of them not the best choices. On the flip side of the coin life has dealt Russell quite a hand to play with. And Russell has more than paid his debt to society.
If you would like to contact Russell, you may do so at
Russell T. Hartsaw
Or use the e-mail portal at the bottom of this site.
940 Park Boulevard, Suite #334 San Diego, CA 92101