Fighting Chances – Blog


Fighting Chances

By: Damian Archer

As one of the 1st recipients in Maine of a Pell Grant by the Next Probability Pell Experimental Websites Initiative, I cherish these prospects to symbolize education’s opportunity for rehabilitating the imprisoned. My instruction though incarcerated and my release to the “real world” retains standpoint which I offer you gratefully to supply extra insight on this subject. Transitioning again to ordinary dwelling has experienced its problems, but I’m no stranger to life’s obstacles.

My identify, Damian, arrives from a Greek phrase “Damianos” that means, “master, conquer, or conquer.” The checklist of points I’ve triumph over is extended: divorced mothers and fathers, childhood abuse, poverty, habit, ostracism, juvenile incarceration, homelessness, mental ailment, violence, nearly a ten years behind bars, and even my possess bad attitude. All ahead of reaching my 30s.

Possessing attained the level of instruction and soundness of head that I keep these days is nothing shy of a miracle. Through my K-12 a long time I attended 7 diverse schools throughout three states before slipping via the cracks.  Finally, at age 18 I attained a GED with traveling colors. I did not lack for intelligence, but I did lack balance and self-discipline. Prior to incarceration, I experienced an desire in college and participated in some absolutely free credit score-yielding programs. Nevertheless, my daily life conditions and options at the time have been incongruent with these targets, so I in no way concluded any programs or enrolled at a university.

Offered the option through 2nd Prospect Pell, I enrolled in classes with the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA) and began doing work toward an Associate of Arts in Liberal Reports though in prison. Inside just one semester I recognized my capabilities. I was not on your own, either. There have been about 25 men in my cohort who fulfilled this motivation. A lot of of us went beyond this to pursue supplemental levels.

Due to the fact my December release I’ve been busier than ever. Enrolled in 5 programs, I have maintained involvement in a number of group initiatives although also used as a laptop facts units (CIS) tutor and a school assistant for UMA. In these roles, I give in-human being as effectively as remote tutoring to the increased group of UMA students (and 1 incarcerated UMA college student).  My routine has been overloaded to the level of finding constraints, but I have aided many many others and honed abilities along the way.  My transcript shows almost straight-As as I approach completion of my B.S. in CIS with a Software Advancement focus. I hope to go after a M.S. in Cybersecurity afterwards.

There are definitely opponents combating from plans that support incarcerated folks. Some would be content composing-off the complete populace of people today in jail as practically nothing but “bad people”. Admittedly, imprisonment normally success from poor decisions. However, men and women in jail often arrive from hard situations that necessary assist in the 1st area. Limited of receiving that aid they barely experienced a fighting probability.

The United States that I enjoy is just one that believes in 2nd chances – heck, even third and fourth prospects. The good news is, it seems like the tide in our place is starting to convert in the right course. This spring, the Department of Schooling expanded the 2nd Prospect Pell Experiment, providing Pell Grants to hundreds additional college students in prisons throughout the place, and in 2023, all incarcerated learners enrolled  in eligible prison education packages will turn out to be eligible for this essential kind of financial assist.

I hope my story informs and proves that when we fall, education can aid us get back again up once again. Of training course, I’m without end grateful for the guidance I’ve experienced alongside the way.


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Natasha M. McKnight

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