Our volunteers in Boston support the Boston University Prison Education Program, a college program that is offered in two Massachusetts prisons. In the inaugural semester of this partnership, Petey Greene recruited volunteers from BU and the Harvard Graduate School of Education and trained them to provide academic support services to the students enrolled in the college program. Six volunteers served as TAs for specific courses, while six other volunteers tutored in weekly study halls, and one volunteer tutored in a college preparation course designed to help students transition into the college program. These tutoring services received high praise from the students and the facilities and we intend to continue and expand this partnership in the fall. (For more information on our partnership with BU, check out our volunteer spotlight on p. 7.)
During the spring semester, the Petey Greene Program in Connecticut successfully coordinated 14 volunteers from the University of Connecticut and seven volunteers from Eastern Connecticut State University. These volunteers tutored in the Brooklyn Correctional Facility where they worked with students studying for their GEDs. The feedback from all our participants was extremely positive and we are now looking for tutoring opportunities at other correctional facilities to accommodate increased interest in the program. We are also proud to be named the 2015 Program of the Year (out of almost 50 other community outreach programs) at the University of Connecticut. Based on this success we are looking to expand to other colleges and universities in Connecticut.
At the Metropolitan Detention Center and the Metropolitan Correctional Center, two Federal Bureau of Prisons adult facilities, fifteen volunteers from Columbia School of Social Work and from the wider NYC community worked with men and women in GED, pre-GED and ESL classes as well as with pre-trial students who were independently studying for their GEDs. This semester, we also started new collaborations with the Rikers Education Project at the Center for Justice at Columbia University and with the newly formed student group, Petey Greene at NYU. Forty volunteers worked with 16- and 17-year-old students at East River Academy, the high school on Rikers Island.
The first group of Petey Greene volunteers from Philadelphia began tutoring this March. Hailing from three different schools in the city — Peirce College, Temple University, and the University of Pennsylvania — as well as the Philadelphia community, these tutors supported academic programs in two correctional facilities. At the Philadelphia Prison System, a group of county jails on State Road, volunteers primarily tutored students in the Pre-GED Literacy Program, occasionally working with students in the GED-level PLATO Program, as well as the Reentry Resource Center. Tutors also volunteered weekly at VisionQuest Lee Prep, a juvenile detention facility in the city, where students are working to complete high school credits or attain a GED. We’re looking forward to continuing tutoring over the summer at these facilities, with new volunteers from Haverford College joining the group.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA & MARYLAND
This spring, Howard University’s inaugural Petey Greene Program got underway, with 13 volunteers supporting students in the Jennifer Road Detention Center. The tutors added an important resource to the jail’s GED program. Three times a week, Howard tutors carpooled to Jennifer Road, where they worked with young men on science, critical reading, writing, social studies, and math. In post-semester feedback, volunteers noted that they felt great satisfaction from seeing their students excel during a session, wanting to delve into further investigation of the topic they were studying. The Howard Program will continue through the summer and into the fall semester, when we’ll also be expanding to tutor at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women.
Our volunteers continue to work with the New Jersey Department of Corrections to provide support to students across the state. This past semester, over 100 volunteers from our programs at Princeton, Rider, Rowan, and Seton Hall and our strategic ally, The College of New Jersey, worked as tutors in five prisons. These volunteers, who facilitated over 500 tutoring sessions, worked with students in a wide variety of academic programs, including adult basic education, high school equivalency, and college courses. We’re looking forward to seeing our existing programs grow and flourish in the Garden State, where it all began!