Wednesday, March 25, 2015

An update on the Harvard Interfaith Prison Education program

A piece of artwork created by one of
the men we mentor at MCI Norfolk.
Over two years ago, our first Micah Fellow, Tiffany Curtis, started an exciting partnership that has allowed students at ECH to mentor incarcerated students in the Boston University Prison Education Program.  We formed the Harvard Interfaith Prison Education program (HIPE), where students from various faith (an non-faith) communities at Harvard have volunteered through the mentoring organization Partakers.  In this time, about twenty students have visited and written letters to four incarcerated men at MCI Norfolk.

Now that HIPE has been around for a few years, we’ve discovered the challenges of keeping a sustainable program.  Students graduate or have schedule changes between semesters.  Also, few Harvard students have cars, making the prison trips difficult.  Because of this, we are excited to expand the HIPE program to include parishioners at Christ Church Cambridge, continuing to strengthen our connection with the parish!

In November, Arthur Bembury, the executive director of Partakers, gave an information session at Christ Church, and his presentation was met with enthusiasm.  Since then, Arthur has returned to provide an orientation for the volunteers, and five parishioners are in the process of scheduling their first visits.  It’s great to have some new energy in the program, and I hope that this will help to sustain it for years to come!

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