With over a decade of successful programming across six states, the Petey Greene Program is starting a new chapter in Pittsburgh. This pilot will be designed with dual purposes:
To provide needed access to education for incarcerated people in the Allegheny County Jail
To design and launch a 16-hour leadership development program for university students in Pittsburgh that engages them in the broader movement for justice reform. We hope that this intensive, experiential learning experience inspires students toward a lifelong commitment to work for social justice.
While we have always trained our tutors before starting their work as tutors in prisons and jails, in Pittsburgh, we are creating a new model for our work, where volunteers are part of a cohort that receives intensive leadership development training and support as they engage in tutoring. This approach comes from our belief that university students who first enter a jail or prison as tutors have an experience that can be as powerful and transformative for them as receiving educational support can be for our incarcerated students. Our volunteers’ work as tutors brings them into direct confrontation, often for the first time, with a broken system that is rooted in racism and social inequality. The majority of people held in the Allegheny County Jail are African American or Latino, as people of color are disparately impacted by mass incarceration in Pittsburgh and in the United States broadly. We want our volunteers to emerge from the experience with the knowledge and skills to become lifelong advocates for justice reform, and to learn how to act in solidarity with Pittsburgh’s community members (including formerly incarcerated people and their families) who are already leading this work.
The new Pittsburgh Chapter is currently recruiting a cohort of 20 volunteer tutors, and the leadership training will occur in January 2020.
Funded by Pittsburgh, PA (December 2019)