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Gateways for Incarcerated Youth

Gateways for Incarcerated Youth, is a public service program of The Evergreen State College. It provides college/college readiness classes and academic mentoring to incarcerated youth and other young people with histories of incarceration. Mentors help youth self-identify interests and goals. Incarcerated youth are actively involved in the design of lesson plans, co-facilitate workshops, and lead discussions with other students. Creative arts are integrated throughout Gateways, and the program is guided by Positive Youth Development.

Why Gateways

Correctional facilities are filled with youth who struggle in traditional educational settings and have been let down by adults. Too many have experienced abuse or neglect, unsafe neighbourhoods, homelessness, and/or involvement in the foster care system. Over 98% of all incarcerated youth are released and return to our communities. However, most do not return to school, earn a high school diploma, or pursue post-secondary education.


Gateways provides the flexibility and individualized approach needed to reengage youth in learning and community.

Youth can participate in Gateways for their entire sentence. This could be a few months to many years. Our open and ongoing learning environment provides youth with the time to trust and discover who they are, and who they want to become.


Our focus on culture—helping all students learn their own and respecting others—is critical to breaking the cycle of incarceration, violence, and recidivism. And our program works. Since its inception, Gateways has provided academic and cultural learning and mentorship to more than 1000 incarcerated youth. Our participants have made educational and personal development gains.


Our Mission

The mission of Gateways is to encourage incarcerated youth to achieve self-determination through youth-driven leadership in a collaborative learning environment. Gateways brings together people of different backgrounds to offer and exchange quality educational opportunities and community involvement as an alternative to incarceration.


Our Vision

Our vision is to break the cycle of incarceration, recidivism, and community violence. By using methods of popular education, self-determination, and cultural identity, Gateways envisions a world that values youth and their development and contributions as members of society.

Read more about Gateways for Incarcerated Youth here:

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