Bob Goff’s Dream Big workshop
Dec. 8, 2022, was a day of celebration for thirty-seven residents who stood together at the third annual Dream Big workshop graduation. The event took place at the Protestant Chapel in San Quentin State Prison.
The Dream Big workshop embodies spirituality, teaches hope and ambition, and offers participants a safe space to share unique and interesting stories about their lives. The organization that sponsors the workshop is Love Does.
This organization supports incarcerated people in their pursuit of higher education by removing the financial burden that comes along with college in an effort to keep students focused on their goals.
“Coming in here participating in the workshops made you feel complete. This is a rare opportunity to open up and share some impactful things. It was a beautiful experience,” said alumnus Jeramiah Brown.
Bob Goff opened the service by asking all the graduates to take a seat on the left side of the room, and all visitors and friends on the right. He then introduced some friends who came to honor and celebrate the graduating class.
The first to take to the stage were John and Stephanie Boyce, supporters of the incarcerated population and of the Dream Big workshop. Boyce said it has been great visiting the education building and observing the progress of the students.
Later, Mike Williams, a physician from Fort Worth, Texas, spoke about an accident where he was trying to stop a car but was run over. That incident left him paralyzed from the waist down. He recovered and traveled to SQ to celebrate with the graduates and support the Dream Big workshop.
“Bob offered me this chance to come here before and I had all the reasons not to come, so this time, I finally came and I have a really big heart for you guys. The reality out there is much bigger than you dream, but hold on to God. I am honored to be here in your presence,” said Williams.
After introductions, everyone split off into groups where everyone was given the opportunity to be vulnerable and share heartfelt testimonies.
“We are not too old to dream big, but don’t look past the day-to-day dreams. Your ambitions and dreams, share them with someone because you never know who will be there for you,” said Terrell.
As the graduates lined up outside the chapel doors, former resident Jesse Vasquez and resident Sergio Alvarez presented certificates to administrative staff members and outside contributors who have been instrumental to the rehabilitative efforts of SQ residents.
After the staff received their certificates everyone stood humming the graduation theme song as the graduates, in blue flowing gowns and tasseled caps, walked in a line down the middle isle of the room.
“Congratulations. You look so good in blue. Whatever happens here, don’t take it for granted. It’s not the absence of conflict, but the reconciliation of community,” declared Jody Luke before she and the other volunteers, staff and alumni lined up to hand out certificates and shake hands with the graduating class.
Goff closed the ceremony by talking about what the workshop stands for and the impact it has on the incarcerated population.
Goff described the program as “anticipating.” He went on to say “It’s like heaven is leaning over, watching in anticipation for what you are going to do with what you’re given.”