Steve Good, Executive Director of Five Keys, is a guest contributor for the College Promise Campaign
DeShawn*, age 21, was likely headed for prison. But while in jail awaiting his trial, he was able to graduate from high school, attend college classes, and earn a full scholarship to a prestigious art university. For the first time, from inside a prison, he was recognized as a person with a bright future. Released in December of 2018, DeShawn now has a second chance to achieve not only his professional aspirations but also his full potential as a member of his community.
At Five Keys Schools and Programs, we are helping DeShawn and thousands of others reverse the school-to-prison pipeline. Our programs—offered behind the walls of county jails, as well as at neighborhood centers in economically isolated communities—are designed to build trust, acknowledge each person’s dignity, and empower individuals to take advantage of opportunities that can change the trajectory of their lives.
Five Keys serves over 20,000 Californians annually at more than 100 sites, including inside 20 county jails. Five Keys’ social justice mission centers around the vital connections that must be made between education, workforce development, behavioral and therapeutic services, community engagement, and transitional housing for the homeless.