How do we find the possibilities in our students when they haven’t had opportunities to develop their potential or vision of what they could do to use their learning in life–eg opportunity for a better life through their gifts?
This story of Bard Prison Initiative student inmates winning a debate against Harvard team is inspiring though there is one caveat–the admissions process to this Bard program is, to use their own word, ‘grueling.’ So there is some self selection of those who are already able to write up to a standard. And still, participants in this program have a less than 2% recidivism rate. And many of them go on to careers that contribute to the common good.
I watched a short video yesterday about prisoners raising guide dogs for the blind in their first year. Their pass rate for dogs is much higher than dogs raised in homes. There are too many successful programs in prisons where inmates work with dogs and wild mustangs to list. I can’t resist including one more of a prisoner who realized that dogs could help autistic children–he studied and figured out how to do it.
One of the themes of prisoners’ stories is always how important it is to do something that helps others, how that changes their sense of life and themselves.
Is this a basic human need to help others? What if we could provide a path for each person to find what s/he could do to help?