On Saturday, November 7th, Transcending Through Education Foundation (TTEF) will be presenting at the National Conference on Higher Education in Prison, at the Pittsburgh University Cathedral of Learning. The Saturday 4:15 session is part of a dynamic conference from Thursday to Saturday.
TTEF’s panel, “Prison to School Pipeline: How three men got out of prison, earned law degrees and created scholarships for others” is even more than that. It is the first time the three founders will be in the same space since Andres Idarraga graduated from Yale Law School in 2011, before TTEF was created. Since then, they have individually and in pairs done in-prison workshops, mentored scholars, and Andres even provided a powerful Tedx Talk on the subject. Co-Founders Noah Kilroy, Bruce Reilly, and Andres Idarraga are excited to share three years of experience working directly with incarcerated students and prison officials to make their program a success.
“Its not just the services we provide,” says Noah Kilroy. “It’s how we provide them, and who those students are getting the message from. For us, by us. We know how it was, and we know how it feels to struggle just to learn everything you can.” As an attorney who also works on parole hearings and post-conviction petitions, Kilroy receives daily reminders of people striving to turn things around and start fresh.
The Department of Education’s recent announcement that pilot programs will receive Pell Grant funding has encouraged many educators and activists to merge their efforts into restoring educational pathways that have not existed in decades. Such excitement is not confined to the educators. “Money will come and go,” Reilly explains, “but the biggest thing we provide is hope. In prison, hope is a commodity in short supply.” Recently named Deputy Director of Voice of the Ex-Offender, in New Orleans, Reilly is familiar with the myriad obstacles for families on all parts of the criminal justice spectrum.
As the nation re-examines the far-reaching policies of mass incarceration and considers options to rebuild and heal communities, the advancement of education in all corners of society is an essential element to success.