UVA program helping to educate inmates
FLUVANNA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - A program out of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business is working with those who are incarcerated and want to learn.
“It has opened my eyes to another world of business opportunities out there,” Kelly Dara said.
Dara is serving a lift sentence at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, but has a chance at parole and a new beginning.
“Coming out and being a convicted felon, like, you never really know what obstacles you’re going to face as far as employment goes,” Dara said.
She is part of the Resilience Education Program. Darden MBA students teach inmates across three Virginia facilities so that when these inmates are released they are in a better position to succeed.
The program started in 2011, and has since expanded to more universities. More than 550 MBA students from UVA, Columbia, and Wharton have so far taught more than 1,000 inmates in Virginia, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Graduates of this program can earn a certificate from the Darden School, as well as credit from the UVA School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
“The Department of Education here, they put up a post and say, ‘If anyone is interested, please apply,’” Kayla Armstrong said.
Armstrong is 11 years into a 26-year sentence.
“At home, I was a single parent,” she said. “I thought I had everything all together. Boy, was I a fool.”
Armstrong says she has learned a lot, and that she and Dara are ready to learn more.
“I was incarcerated as a teenager, so I never had to do this kind of stuff. I didn’t have to budget and pay bills, credit, things like that,” Dara said. “I didn’t have that kind of experience.”
“It is very important not to give up and to know that this program will give you the details, it will give you understanding that everything that you need to return back to society,” Armstrong said.
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