According to abc7 , A program that helps D.C. inmates transition to life outside is celebrating its first round of graduates.
15 fellows with Georgetown University’s Pivot Program graduated over the summer and will finish their last day of class at the end of August.
The Pivot Program is a one-year transition and re-entry program centered around academic work and pushing former inmates to become entrepreneurs.
“Business schools are about creating opportunity. There is a population in our community that is ready to contribute,” said Pietra Rivoli, director of Pivot Program. “We support if they want to transition to full-time employment. We also support if they want to create their own business.”
Sheri Davis, a fellow in the program, calls it a second chance. “One mistake shouldn’t define my whole life.”
Davis is a former District of Columbia Public School (DCPS) elementary teacher, who has two masters in business and primary education.
Life was going pretty good before she committed a crime that resulted in 22 months behind bars.
Davis didn’t want to talk about the crime she committed. “I prefer to move forward and not let it define me,” said Davis. “I’m focused on rebuilding and taking the next steps.”
One of those steps is the Georgetown University Pivot Program.
According to the university “In the District of Columbia alone, roughly 5,000 individuals are released from prison or jail every year, and less than half of them find sustainable employment. This perpetuates a cycle of crime and incarceration, with devastating effects on families, communities, and the broader economy.”
This program hopes to break that cycle.
Another fellow, Corey Pollard says he nearly gave up before finding Pivot. “It was hard,” he said. “It wasn’t the easiest but it was worth it.”
Pollard was incarcerated for five years before being released.
“It was a drug charge,” he said. “At that time, it was normal. In neighborhoods where I come from, role models were doing no good. I followed in those footsteps.”
The first round of fellows just completed the program. Now, the University will determine just how successful the program was in their lives. “We would like to stay in touch with them and see what roll this program played in their life” said Rivoli.
All fellows have to have GED’s and some academic preparation to be qualified for the program. They also look for emotional stability and a certain level of social stability.
Pollard says he has a few business ideas in the works including some apps that he is building.
Davis says her dream is to work with Georgetown University.