My name is David, and I’m a former ‘inside’ student of the Inside-Out program who is now studying at the University of Oregon. I would like to introduce an idea that I helped build while I was housed at O.S.C.I. The Weusi Umoja Clubhosts the “Back to School” program every year (August). Weusi Umoja gives school supplies to inmates’ children when they come to visit their loved ones during their scheduled visiting times. The kids can receive a list of things, including a backpack, pencils, paper, ruler, calculator, and other educational items. All of the items that the children receive are grade appropriate. We get a copy of the items that the school district asks the children to have upon the start of the school year. I was a part of this special project for years while at O.S.C.I. This is something dear to my heart because not only was I a helper in getting this project done; I was in need of help for my own children. Being college students we can all relate to how it feels to start the school year off with all the necessary school supplies to be on top of your game to compete. Throughout the years while organizing this event I always felt like I could do more for the children of incarcerated parents and I believe that this event was a start in the right direction. The burden that this project takes off the families is tremendous and the reward is to see the smiles on the children’s faces.
Former 'Inside' Student
Student, University of Oregon
*Editor’s note: First, we are proud to feature writing by a former 'inside' student here, for the first time. Including more 'inside' alumni writing is a goal of ours. Then, the Inside-Out Alumni Group at U of O is currently considering partnering with this project at OSCI. Updates to come!