Fighting Chances – Blog

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Fighting Chances

By: Damian Archer

As one particular of the first recipients in Maine of a Pell Grant as a result of the Second Likelihood Pell Experimental Web sites Initiative, I cherish these prospects to signify education’s opportunity for rehabilitating the imprisoned. My schooling even though incarcerated and my release to the “real world” holds point of view which I give gratefully to provide more perception on this matter. Transitioning back again to typical dwelling has experienced its problems, but I’m no stranger to life’s obstacles.

My title, Damian, arrives from a Greek term “Damianos” this means, “master, triumph over, or conquer.” The list of things I’ve overcome is extended: divorced mother and father, childhood abuse, poverty, dependancy, ostracism, juvenile incarceration, homelessness, mental disease, violence, approximately a 10 years powering bars, and even my individual poor mind-set. All right before achieving my 30s.

Acquiring attained the degree of training and soundness of intellect that I keep now is practically nothing shy of a wonder. In the course of my K-12 years I attended 7 diverse universities across a few states right before slipping by means of the cracks.  Inevitably, at age 18 I acquired a GED with flying colours. I did not lack for intelligence, but I did lack steadiness and self-control. Prior to incarceration, I had an interest in higher education and participated in some totally free credit history-yielding classes. Nevertheless, my everyday living circumstances and selections at the time were being incongruent with these ambitions, so I hardly ever accomplished any courses or enrolled at a college.

Presented the opportunity by Second Possibility Pell, I enrolled in courses with the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA) and commenced doing the job towards an Affiliate of Arts in Liberal Studies whilst in jail. Inside one particular semester I recognized my capabilities. I was not alone, possibly. There were about 25 men in my cohort who fulfilled this dedication. Many of us went past this to pursue further degrees.

Considering that my December launch I’ve been busier than ever. Enrolled in 5 classes, I have managed involvement in a number of staff assignments although also employed as a computer information and facts techniques (CIS) tutor and a school assistant for UMA. In these roles, I supply in-particular person as nicely as distant tutoring to the higher group of UMA college students (and a single incarcerated UMA student).  My routine has been overloaded to the point of identifying constraints, but I have helped several other folks and honed techniques along the way.  My transcript displays almost straight-As as I technique completion of my B.S. in CIS with a Computer software Advancement concentration. I hope to pursue a M.S. in Cybersecurity afterwards.

There are absolutely opponents preventing against systems that assist incarcerated persons. Some would be pleased crafting-off the overall populace of people today in jail as nothing but “bad people”. Admittedly, imprisonment usually results from lousy decisions. However, people today in prison usually appear from challenging situation that demanded support in the initial location. Short of acquiring that support they barely had a preventing probability.

The United States that I really like is one that believes in second prospects – heck, even third and fourth odds. The good news is, it would seem like the tide in our nation is commencing to turn in the proper route. This spring, the Office of Instruction expanded the Second Chance Pell Experiment, presenting Pell Grants to hundreds extra pupils in prisons across the nation, and in 2023, all incarcerated learners enrolled  in eligible prison education packages will develop into qualified for this vital sort of money assist.

I hope my tale informs and proves that when we drop, education can enable us get again up once more. Of class, I’m without end grateful for the help I’ve had alongside the way.