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College Guild grows up!

For 20 years College Guild has stayed faithfully focused on its mission to improve the lives of incarcerated men and women by connecting them with people outside of prison who care and by giving them, as students, the opportunity to learn, be creative, use their time productively and break the pattern of endless boredom that permeates prison sentences.

In these 20 years, we've offered our courses to upwards of 9000 people who have a prison mailing address. In the last 3 years, we've been updating systems and staying focused on learning how to be more effective for both our incarcerated students and our amazing volunteers, who like our students hail from across the country and all 50 states.

College Guild is about access to education and respectful connections with people. We started to collect more demographic data on our students in 2018. That data told us some important things about our students.

In the midst of the pandemic, what we've learned is that upwards of 28% of our students identify as Black or African American. And another 20% identify as Hispanic, Latina, Asian, American Indian and other ethnicities besides White. That means 48% of our students are Black, Indigenous, People of Color.

With this information in hand, along with a student survey that we've been running for the last month, we want to focus on developing courses that our students are requesting. The largest request we have is to develop courses on Black History and African American studies.

With so many BIPOC students, it's apparent we need to move in this direction. We are writing grants to help fund this work. As staff at College Guild, we all identify as White. It is our hope to be able to acquire funding to support hiring one or two college interns who themselves are people of color and who are majoring in these areas of study to develop courses that will speak to our students.

Keep your fingers crossed with us that we'll win this funding and not only expand our course list but more effectively and with great respect, support our BIPOC students in meeting this need.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for being here. Thank you for caring about incarcerated people and their lives, hopes and dreams.

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