On the third floor of the Bertolini Student Center, Santa Rosa Junior College counselor Rhonda Findling gathered for her weekly meeting with about 20 formerly incarcerated students. On the top of her agenda was asking for volunteers to speak about their life experiences to youth at area schools.
Jason Dorfer, a welding student raised in Santa Rosa who spent years in and out of jail on drug-related charges, was the first to volunteer, pending permission from his probation officer.
“I feel in my history I took from society, and now I feel like I want to give back,” said Dorfer, 41.
The volunteer opportunity was one of many offered by Second Chance, a support program for formerly incarcerated students founded at the college about a decade ago.
Over the last few years, Second Chance and another program the college launched about three years ago that offers classes to inmates in jail have expanded. The college, which has faced declining enrollment, expects to more than double the number of incarcerated students within the next two years.
There are about 120 people in jail enrolled in the courses, and the number is projected to grow to 260 students by 2021, said Robert Holcomb, dean of language arts and academic foundation.
To read the full article, written by Susan Minichiello, click HERE