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Dara Ingram, along with her mother Ruby, always knew that incarceration was not the end of her brother Shariff’s story. Shariff left prison in September 2020 after nearly 23 years of incarceration. That moment was profound for Shariff and for Dara.  

For Shariff, it was a moment to begin anew, enjoying freedoms long imagined. For Dara, it was also a celebration of her brother’s newfound and hard-fought freedom. And, she looked for new ways to channel her monumental expertise and passion, honed over two plus decades of advocacy on her brother’s behalf.

For the last two years, Shariff has built a strong and stable life outside the walls of any prison, with critical support from Dara. He builds bridges – literally – a job that he values and takes pride in. And, he feels like his story is just starting.

When asked what he most wants people to know about him, Shariff says, “I’m better than my greatest mistake. I’m not the same person I was, obviously, as when I was incarcerated at 15 years old. Prison didn’t make me better. I grew and developed in prison despite the environment.”

And, Shariff looks forward to getting opportunities to mentor young men on the outside. His participation in this year’s Intergenerational Healing Circle is just one way he’s making that happen.

photo by Naomieh Jovin

photo by Naomieh Jovin

In Shariff’s next chapter, he’ll be bridge-building in a more figurative way. Shariff will play a leadership role in coordinating our soon-to-be-launched Speaker’s Bureau, a pilot project that will connect client-partners with opportunities to share their stories through media requests, speaking engagements and more.

Our client-partners have powerful voices. Now, we are thrilled that Shariff will coordinate opportunities for them to share and amplify their voices and stories with audiences in ways they find meaningful. Next week, Shariff will represent the Speakers Bureau as he meets with a visiting group of students from Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire.

And, as the Speakers Bureau gets off the ground, YSRP will compensate participants when they take advantage of speaking opportunities to ensure their time and expertise is honored appropriately.

Dara, too, is finding ways to use her vast talents to continue advocating for change in the justice system.

Like her brother, she’s doing it as part of the YSRP family. Last year, Dara joined YSRP’s Board of Directors, the body responsible for setting our strategic direction and overseeing our financial health.

When asked about her nomination to our Board, Dara says, “I was honored to do it. Just working with Joanna and Lauren, and all the advocacy work, any type of support that I could have given – if they asked me to consider it, I didn’t hesitate.”

She looks forward to her work with our Board Governance Committee, and we know her drive and determination will ensure we keep on our path to reach our goals.

Now, Dara continues her tireless work for the success of our community, alongside her brother Shariff, who is making his way on the outside.

Nearly a decade ago, inspired by client-partners and their fiercely loyal families and loved ones, our Co-Founders Joanna Visser Adjoian and Lauren Fine launched YSRP. Shariff and Dara Ingram, two sparks of that initial inspiration, are now playing lead roles in authoring our next chapter. As Shariff amplifies the voices of fellow former Juvenile Lifers and young people charged as adults, and as Dara provides strategic guidance to create an even stronger future for YSRP, we are grateful for every part of the story we are witnessing them write.

photo by Naomieh Jovin

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