I met Ari Kohn and the Post-Prison Education Program in 2007 when I was locked up on my 5th prison sentence. Wanting another life after literally dozens of felony convictions but having no viable way to finding one, I put my faith in my higher power by asking for someone, anyone, to be put in my path that would help me find my way. After about three weeks of fervent petitions to that higher power I was talking about, in walked Ari Kohn, Kimberly Mays, and the then director of the Department of Corrections Eldon Vail. I became a student with the Post-Prison Education Program not long after that initial meeting.
Since that day in 2007, there has been up and downs. I have relapsed, gotten into more trouble, and even went back to prison.
There was something different about this program though and through everything, they never turned their back on me and they never gave up.
Ari saw potential in me even when I didn’t see it myself and this was the catalyst that changed who I was to become. When I was released from prison in 2015 I immediately became a fixture at the Post-Prison Education Program office; I started school immediately and went to work for Ari and the Program.
This Fall, I started my senior year at the Evergreen State College in a program entitled Gateways for Incarcerated Youth, which enters Green Hill juvenile facility every week to teach and mentor the incarcerated youth. I managed to find new work at Community Lifeline, a homeless shelter in downtown Shelton. I have also found a beautiful woman who loves me and we are buying a lovely home here in Mason County. I’ve experienced more firsts in the last two years than the twenty that preceded it! That life that I was seeking back in 2007 has finally come to fruition and it wouldn’t have been possible if not for the existence of the Post-Prison Education Program.