Help your Community, Go Greene!
By: Alezandria Brown, April 28, 2016
I had been looking for a volunteer opportunity that reflected what I wanted to pursue in my future career. I intend to become a Probation Officer, therefore I was looking for something criminal justice related. Upon looking into the CCE, I found what I knew would be the perfect fit! The process of beginning volunteering was made exceptionally easy by the CCE student Leaders, whom conducted numerous workshops and informational meetings. The Petey Greene Program that I participated in was conducted at the Brooklyn Correctional Institute in Brooklyn, CT and consisted of tutoring inmates who are working towards earning their GED.
Upon our arrival at the prison every Wednesday, we were unaware of the extent of the tutoring that we would be doing. The anticipation and mystery of not knowing what we were getting into that day kept us on our toes. I was mostly nervous that I would be working with a student who was working on something that I didn’t know how to do! Although I assure you that I received my high school diploma, as well as an Associate Degree from an accredited community college, I was still uneasy about tutoring another person in math. It can be very intimidating! However, I mostly found myself aiding the students in, yes you guessed it, math! The GED practice booklets posed as a challenge for me but I accepted it with my head held high. I refused to let my student see my nerves because that would not benefit either one of us. I found, however, that the students are just as willing to help you as you are in helping them. Together, we worked our way through the obstacles of geometry and algebra and managed to understand the problems efficiently.
The appreciation that the students had for us was blatant every time that we finished with the sessions. They repeatedly thanked me and told me that they looked forward to seeing me the following week so that we could pick up where we left off. This alone has proven to be rewarding to me because I can see the impact that 2 hours of my day has made for these individuals. I feel that it is important to instill confidence and optimism within these students because, although they are students, they are inmates when it comes down to it. At the end of the session I get to go home, but these men go back to a lonely cot that serves as a temporary home. It is imperative that we help them as much as we can in all aspects so that they are able to fully function in society and be a part of the community once again. It is not impossible to rehabilitate people whom have served time in prison; it just takes a substantial amount of time and dedication. This Petey Greene Program promotes the significance of education among the inmate population and gives them skills that they can take with them and apply to their lives once placed back in the community. For this very reason, I encourage others to Go Greene and experience this highly rewarding opportunity. I am proud to say that I will always be a Greenie!