Efren was certified as a Literary Braille Transcriber by the U.S. Library of Congress in 1997. He worked for Michigan Braille Transcribing Fund transcribing print textbooks into braille for blind and visually impaired children for 13 years. He also worked as a clerk in the accounting department, made presentations to board members, developed innovative ways to help make the corporation a leader in the industry, and became proficient in the use of the latest computer software and technology.
In 2008 Efren was part of a successful campaign to create a charter middle school in the Los Angeles Unified School District. He also co-founded the online web site and organization Presente.org which advocates for social justice, civil rights, and human rights issues on behalf of Latina/os in the U.S. That same year the Berkeley City Council in California passed a resolution condemning Efren's sentence as a human rights violation.
Between 2008-10 Efren participated in three University of Michigan Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) creative writing and art workshops. One of his poems was selected to be featured in a PCAP writing anthology titled "A Crack in the Concrete."
In 2015 Efren successfully completed the 40 Days of Peace and 40 Days of Power programs, respectively. The Power of Peace Project founder, Kit Cummings, traveled to the Muskegon Correctional Facility from Atlanta, Georgia, to facilitate the program. The Power of Peace Project teaches about the value of non-violence and underscores the need to develop conflict resolution and race-relations skills.
That same year Efren successfully completed a course offered by Muskegon Community College (MCC) named "Transition to Success." The course teaches important skills to assist prisoners in their transition back to society. He also completed another MCC course named "The Elements of Music" and a course named "Juvenile Restoration in Progress (JRIP)." JRIP was a course taught by a Lansing Community College Professor and Prison Fellowship volunteer that was designed to provide resources and life skills to prisoners who have been sentenced to life without parole when they were juveniles.
Between 2015-16 Efren successfully completed Tier I and Tier II of Chance for Life, a program that teaches leadership, communication, mediation, and life skills. Chance for Life is a Detroit-based non-profit corporation that offers their programs inside Michigan prisons. One of the program's founders, Jessica Taylor, is a commissioner of the Detroit Police Department.
Efren has participated on panels and spoken at conferences regarding mass incarceration, cultural, race-relations, and political issues via phone on the campuses of Michigan State University, University of Oregon, University of Southern California, University of California, Berkeley, and School of the Arts Institute (Chicago).
He has appeared on various radio stations and podcasts across the nation to discuss criminal justice issues. Some of the stations include National Public Radio (NPR), Michigan Radio, Central Michigan University Public Radio, the Jack Ebling Show, La Raza Chronicles, KPFA Radio, Detriot Superstation 910 AM, Thousand Kites, Juvenile Justice Matters, Youth Radio, and others.
Articles about Efren have been featured on ColorLines, RaceWire, The Progressive, The Michigan Citizen, South Bend Tribune, TelesurTV, Latina Lista, The Nation, Seattle Times, Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times, Lansing State Journal, MLive, Associated Press, 99% Invisible, The Theory of Everything, AlterNet, and other web sites. In 2015 Latina Magazine named Efren as one of four Latino prisoners in the U.S. deserving of clemency.
Efren has taken his message of non-violence and criminal justice reform to other countries as well. He spoke to a large audience of youth at a basketball tournament in Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and has appeared twice on TelesurTV, a station based in Quito, Ecuador.
In 2015 Efren was featured in the documentary film "Natural Life" about Michigan prisoners sentenced to life without parole when they were juveniles. The film can be viewed on iTunes by visiting the Apple Store and is also available on Google Play and VuDu. Efren will also be featured in two future films being produced, one about extreme sentences and the other an investigative documentary about the circumstances surrounding his incarceration.
During his incarceration Efren has raised money for underfunded classrooms, youth summer camps, and breast cancer awareness. He also applied for and received grants from a corporation to build a weight training area and fund the purchase of library books, encyclopedias, and a learning resource center at a prison he was formally housed at.
Efren has been invited to speak at various religious services and cultural organization events throughout his incarceration. He has been a keynote speaker at Cinco de Mayo, Latino History Month, Kwanzaa, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and Black History Month events, just to name a few.
He has also developed proposals and received approval by prison administrators to host numerous members of the public who have visited prisons to speak on an array of subjects. Some of those people have included professors, state representatives, poets, authors, psychologists, lawyers, and social justice advocates.
Efren has successfully completed therapeutic courses facilitated by social workers and psychologists in Anger Management, Stress Management, Grief and Loss, Character Development, and Group Therapy. He also co-facilitated Conflict Resolution classes along with facility staff at the Kinross Correctional Facility in 2014.
During the course of his incarceration Efren has received commendations from prison Wardens for the positive work he has done assisting the prisoner population through his work serving over 14 six-month terms as a member of the Warden's Forum at various prisons. He also has the support of a retired Michigan Braille Transcribing Fund Executive Director as well as current and retired Michigan Department of Corrections staff.
Efren is currently the subject of an immersive audio project being created by a New York-based podcast producer and Columbia University graduate student. An Emory University law professor is also devoting an entire chapter to him in an upcoming book she is authoring about prisoners sentenced to life without parole sentences when they were juveniles.
In September 2015 Efren was among 20 prisoners selected to help develop a prison outreach component of the My Brother's Keeper (MBK) program based at Michigan State University (MSU). MBK is a program that trains people to become mentors to at-risk African-American boys, Grade 6-8, in the Detroit Public Schools. Upon successful completion of the program training Efren will receive an MBK Mentor Internship certification from the MSU Residential College in the Arts and Humanities.