The way that Delancey has come into being and evolved over the last 40+ years is truly a miracle. What a gift to be able to witness such grace in action. Their philosophy runs so deep in all that they teach and do at their campus. They see themselves as a school, or academy for re-teaching people how to live that have all but given up on anything resembling hope.
Some applicants come to Delancey street, after they’ve applied, by the generosity of a judge in the state of California deciding to give them Delancey Street instead of 10 years to life in prison. The minute they get there they are taken out of the cuffs, and given a fresh, nice pair of clothes. The housing itself is more like a resort than any sort of rehab facility or jail. The family of Delancey is built on a system of trust, respect and accountability. The teachers are simply people who have been there longer, who have been through the daily life at Delancey .
One of their major philosophies is each one teach one. So the minute someone learns a simple thing, like where the bathroom is located or how to properly mop the floor, they are the one to show the next person. It starts at that basic level for everyone, and can go as far as residents building the amazing facility they live in now, from scratch. Sometimes that means rebuilding a wall three times because they made mistakes along the way, but Mimi, founder of Delancey Street, believes strongly in the learning that happens when people are given the opportunity to make mistakes and correct their mistakes.
It is an amazing thing that Delancey street models to their residents and the world. Grace. Love. Accountability. Each one has the ability to teach once they are taught. And people can change. It takes very specific, repetitive behaviors, and being willing to make mistakes and correct those mistakes. Mimi believes that all who enter Delancey Street can and will turn their life around, and she doesn’t settle for less. Amazing and inspiring!