Extraordinary People

Lad saved by inmates who pay his school fees as parents hit by struggles

The $30,000 (£22k) helped student graduate and study further education

We’ve heard of schools partnering with care homes so that children can help the vulnerable, but never schools and prisons.

However, that’s exactly what happened across the pond in California and it turned out to be a match made in heaven.

Not only did the kids help the inmates, but it worked vice versa too as the prisoners clubbed together to help the young people. In particular, one boy who was struggling to pay the school fees was rescued by the inmates who raised $30,000 (£22k) to cover his tuition.

It all kicked off when a prep school for boys joined forces with the Soledad State Prison to form a book club designed to bring out the best in all of the participants.

[Credit: The Kelly Clarkson Show]

No one could have predicted the success of it or how the friendships would evolve.

So much so, that after hearing of one student who struggling to pay the $1,200 (£883) monthly tuition due to his dad needing expensive heart surgery, the inmates mucked in.

Speaking about the initiative, teacher Jim Michelleti – who created the reading project – said that he could barely believe how powerful the student-inmate bond had become.

[Credit: Faithpot]

Mr Michelleti said: “They [the inmates] said, ‘We value you guys coming in. We’d like to do something for your school. Can you find us a student who needs some money to attend?’”

Before he knew it, the prisoners began fundraising – handing over prison pay-cheques or selling their possessions – before the cash was awarded to a student who could then graduate and attend college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco with the funds.

The lucky recipient was Sy Green, who continues to visit the inmates with his family and even invited four prisoners to his high school graduation after they had been released from jail.

Chatting about the project, Jason Bryant, an ex-inmate who helped launch the scholarship, said that despite the reputation of those behind bars, most want to rehabilitate and improve their life.

Bryant said: “Regardless of the poor choices that people make, most people want to take part in something good. Guys were eager to do it.”

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