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Inside-Out program celebrates spring class and renewed funding
Twenty students concluded a unique educational experience at the end of June with a special ceremony at the Grand Valley Institution for Women.
The students, who are part of the Inside-Out Canada program, are a mix of outside (Laurier-enrolled) and inside (incarcerated) students. June 23 marked the closing ceremony for the spring Inside-Out class, “Gender, Race and Crime” taught by Laurier Faculty of Social Work Professor Shoshana Pollack.
The closing ceremony also recognized the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation, which committed additional funding to the program, ensuring that Inside-Out can continue at Laurier up to and including the 2016-17 academic year.
Inside-Out brings inside and outside students together as classmates for a semester-long university course. The program is built around dialogue, critical thinking, collaboration and community building with classes taking place at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener. Inside-Out illustrates how learning together allows all students to break down social barriers, see beyond stereotypes and make constructive changes in their lives and communities.
"Experiencing the Inside-Out program helped me to realize that the best me to be is the authentic me,” said Ashley, one of the students in the spring class. “Inside-Out taught me to have compassion with myself as well as others. The program also taught me that everyone comes from different places in life but each of our truths are significant. This program was so much more than just a class to take for a credit. It had a profound impact on me personally and it gave me hope of the future possibilities for the correctional system, education system, and our society overall."
The spring course was the seventh offering of an Inside-Out course at Laurier. The Lyle S. Hallman Foundation has provided integral support to the program since 2012.
Laurier’s Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work is the central hub for Inside-Out Canada, but the program has also grown beyond Laurier. Laurier coordinates instructor training and supports people who are introducing Inside-Out classes at their own institutions. Over 140 students have benefitted directly from the Inside-Out educational experience. By the end of this year, 14 Inside-Out courses will have taken place across Canada involving partnerships between six universities and seven correctional institutions.