In 2017, the Transcending Through Education Foundation (TTEF) expanded our traditional tools for supporting incarcerated students, and decided to fund an entire college course that would be available to a group of students, free of charge. A group of 17 students being held at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections successfully completed that first course and are continuing to work towards their Associate’s Degree.
TTEF was recently awarded a grant from the Rhode Island Foundation (the Foundation) that will allow this student cohort to take their next three courses, with no cost to themselves. This support is essential to filling the vast need for educational resources inside prisons. Over the past four years while TTEF has provided scholarships, workshops, and mentorships, it has also gained a deeper understanding of the intellectual curiosity, desire to develop skills, and the quest for change that exists throughout the prisons.
Education is the primary pathway for people to work their way out of poverty and overcome discrimination. TTEF was founded by three people who all served time in prison, overcame various obstacles to earn their degrees after prison, and then founded TTEF to support others to do the same. Developments over the past several years indicate an evolving understanding by educators and prison administrators on this issue, and this investment by the Foundation is a significant step towards a genuine community investment in a sustainable future.