Second Chances - Help Young Man Become A Paralegal

In 1997, when he was only 14 years old, TM was sentenced to die in prison.  He was an eighth grade middle school student.  TM was a quiet kid, the youngest of many, and in school no one really saw him.  He was tracked into classes for the slow and unpromising, and the message from educators was that their expectations for him were low.  Who would this kid from a poor neighborhood even become?  Why try?  

Today, he wrote me a letter telling me that he had just re-read Americanah by Ngoozi Adichie and could I please send him a book on the French Revolution.  Since he's been in prison, he's read more books than I could list here,  but he remains an avid consumer of classical literature and history.  He has a curious and gifted mind that has flourished in the worst of circumstances.

The opportunities for educational improvement in Florida's prisons are next to none.  But he has taken advantage of everything that is available.  Now, he would like to take college classes.  Adams State University offers a prisoner education program that would allow TM to earn his Advanced Paralegal certification (  Beyond his exceptional mind, TM is a beautiful writer and he would make an outstanding paralegal.  But college costs money! He needs 6 classes at $525 each in order to get his certification.

Thanks to the hard work of Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative, juveniles sentenced to life in prison now have hope.  These kids - like TM - have the chance to prove that they aren't incorrigible and that young people have the capacity for change.  Who TM was at 14 is not the same person he is today at the age of 36.  Please help give him the opportunity to show that.


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Jennifer Marshall 
Village of Wellington, FL
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