Bob Goff’s Love Does program
awards scholarships to four
San Quentin residents
Four San Quentin residents received college scholarships from the Love Does Prison Education Scholarship Program, ranging from $8,000 to $12,000, after attending the Dream Big workshop.
The mission of Love Does is to remove the financial burden that hinders incarcerated people from pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Love Does “provides scholarships to deserving inmates seeking to pursue an undergraduate or postgraduate degree,” according to the Dream Big workshop application.
“The financial burden has been killing my family. The scholarship has taken a load off my family, which is liberating,” said Raul Higgins.
The challenge of adding something like college into your daily routine can be difficult. “Now it is all about managing my time and it’s daunting and scary, but for so long we go through our day doing the same thing,” said Ryan Pagan. He described how he deals with adding college to a routine that is similar to the movie Groundhog Day.
“Messing up doesn’t mean you are a mess up. It means you’re a dreamer who’s willing to take some risks, get a few scrapes, clear away ashes, and build some new foundation,”
said Bob Goff, who is a New York Times best-selling author, a motivational speaker and the founder of Love Does. This was the organization’s first year granting scholarships to the incarcerated population, noted on the website.
The scholarships pay for the tuition and books for one year of schooling with Adam State University and Ohio State University.
Reginald Thorpe, a scholarship recipient, said that during the pandemic, he “wanted something to do. In order to keep busy, I relied on education and programs. I believe it’s the best way to prevent violence anywhere.”
Love Does encourages incarcerated people at San Quentin and represents a resource for successful integration back into the community.
Earning a high school diploma or a GED is an achievement that Brian Asey described as the “greatest feeling when I graduated,” which he did during the height of the pandemic through correspondence.
“I cried because it was unexpected. I wanted to finish school because I learned that college was not hard,” said Asey, who has taken a liking to Adam State University and has registered to attend in the near future.
Having the opportunity to finish college is a big goal that the men spoke about. “I will take full advantage of this opportunity,” said Asey.
The Dream Big workshop experience, which included 35 residents, “was inspirational… You got to meet successful people and hear them share their stories and have them listen to ours,” said Pagan.
When there are modified programs or quarantines in the housing units, it is “easier to focus,” said Pagan, who thought it was going to be a lot harder than it actually was to complete school assignments.
Pagan earned his associate’s degree when he was at High Desert State Prison in 2020. He said he “never knew I was going to have the money to attend higher education.”
“I utilized my past experiences while coming up with career ideas to better serve the community inside and outside of the walls,” said Higgins.
Thorpe talked about his experience of applying to Ohio University prior to the Dream Big workshop. When he received the registration package and saw the cost, he became discouraged. Thanks to Dream Big, he will attend Adam State without that burden. “They came at the right time. My family is happy and wants to see what I am going to do next”.
Higgins received his associate degree in 2010 through correspondence with Coastline College while he was incarcerated in Solano. “I’m so excited that I’ve done all the self-reflection on myself and realized how valuable I am to others who I’m serving, because I’m at my best when I’m serving,” said Higgins.
“I want to thank Love Does and the organization overall for allowing me to be the best version of myself,” said Thorpe. “I want to thank Warden Broomfield and the SQ community for creating the environment for me to thrive, excel and allowing me to adopt the programming culture.”