The Clemente Course Gives Hope to Their Community: Funded Summer 2010

The Jefferson County Education Foundation (JCEF), through the Clemente Course, offers a free, accredited college-level humanities course to adults living in poverty. Satterberg Foundation funds supported JCEF's operational expenses.

"I am a strong believer in the Clemente Program... I've personally experienced many of the participants showing more confidence and an increased sense of their own worth. They no longer stay in the shadows; quietly waiting for the other person to make decisions, take important steps.

The greater the participation, the better our communities. Lela Hilton and Clemente are responsible for making this a better place."
-Michelle Sandoval
Mayor of Port Townsend, WA

Below are stories of Clemente Course Students recounted by Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Juelanne Dalzell

"Clemente has made a difference in the lives of many of the young adults I work with...Clemente shows the way out of aimlessness and encourages the flowering of real personhood through through learning.

Fred (not his real name) had been abandoned by his biological family and went into the foster care system at the age of nine. Fred was angry. Fred acted out. He went from one foster family to another.

 As a teen he got into trouble with the legal system due to his anger issues. His znger became much more visible than his keen intelligence and things went form bad to worse. Fred ended up in prison. When he came out of prison, as part of his probation, he finished a ten-week Clemente program.

He relapsed on drugs and was about to go to prison a second time but found his way to drug court instead. As he sobered up he began to look at things differently. In drug court he talked about Clemente and what he had learned there.  He said he felt like he could talk in drug court because Clemente had given him his voice, a way to speak that was not only acceptable but intellectual.

Slowly, Fred climbed out of his abyss. His AA step-work was profound due in large part because he had an intellectual framework with which to process and to communicate his experiences. Clemente was the experience that allowed Fred to see himself as a real person. He was able to use what he had learned in Clemente as his center. He had never before experienced personhood.

"Barbara" came to the United States as a very young child. She never felt she really belonged. She wandered. She got hooked on drugs. Bad things happened to her in that drug culture. She, like Fred, had been objectified. As alienated as she already was the drug addiction led to deeper depression and her sense of selfhood evaporated. She came to drug court with no goals, no sense that tomorrow could be any different today. Sh got clean and sober and, with Fred's encouragement, decided to take the Clemente Course. She, too, had an epiphany- she realized how intelligent she is. She realized that she could make contributions to her community. She has been clean and sober for over two years and is actively engaged in a full-time college program.

Clemente provides a matrix in which people can find their humanity.

Clemente is a gift not only to those who participate in the classes but it is a gift to our community."

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