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Voices from Inside: Letter from Carl

In this new section of our newsletter, YPEI features select writings from incarcerated YPEI students. The first piece comes from a letter written by Carl:

"The YPEI correspondence during this COVID-19 outbreak has done so much for me. Even before we went on lockdown YPEI had an incredibly positive effect on my life. It’s been more than a year since I’ve entered the program and I’ve been exposed to so much in that little amount of time. I’ve grown enough confidence to approach subjects like physics, philosophy, and poetry. These are all topics I would have been dismissive towards two years ago out of the fear of being uncomfortable. This is one of the best things about YPEI. This program constantly pushed me into unfamiliar spaces and in those spaces I grew. This pandemic has shrouded the world in a dark cloud of unfamiliarity that we are all still struggling to adjust to. For us locked up, for me, it’s been stressful worrying about the health and safety of loved ones. It’s been stressful not knowing when we’ll be able to see our loved ones in visits again. It’s been difficult trying to keep in touch with friends and family who’ve lost work hours and can’t afford to pay for phone calls. I feel like pieces of my life have been put on pause and I’m not certain when they’ll pick back up. YPEI has eased some of that uncertainty. Though nothing can replace being able to interact with professors, guest speakers, and classmates in person, the fact that I’m able to interact at all is something I’m grateful for. YPEI’s correspondence has given me the opportunity to continue my education through this difficult time....

At some moment, early on in the pandemic, I lost motivation. I let the absence of a classroom become an excuse to slack off. During that time the people working to keep YPEI going continued sending me work and supplies weekly. Seeing their commitment to us students encouraged me to get back on track...."