Back to the classroom, but first …

Back to the classroom, but first …

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By Jerel Skeith

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In the beginning, one of the first tasks for PiFO was to raise enough money to fund the remodel of classroom space designated by the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC). The remodel is located in the Oregon State Correctional Institution (OSCI) in Salem. This space is designated for use by Corban University to educate Oregon Adults in Custody (AIC’s) culminating in a fully accredited bachelor’s degree.

The cost of the remodel far exceeded our wildest imaginations. It was $684,500! Remodeling in a prison setting is special. Our contractor, Fosil Construction, did an amazing job of creating 2 classrooms, a study hall, a computer lab and a director’s office out of 3300 square feet of space. The $684,500 was the most money ever given for the benefit of AIC’s in DOC history! This was only possible through the generosity of PiFO supporters and, of course, God.

COVID slowed the project somewhat by shutting down live instruction in OSCI, but we just got some encouraging news from our program director, Dr. Amit A. Bhatia. Dr. Bhatia says:

I’ve been given permission to go into OSCI after July 15 in order to setup our classroom space. This is exciting! I will be going in on Friday July 17 in the afternoon (1pm-3:30 pm), working with couple of our students who have volunteered to do the work. I will keep going in on a regular basis until the work is completed. On July 17 Trish Davenport and I will also create a comprehensive list of all the work that needs to be done in our classroom, electronic equipment that needs to be brought in, etc. I will keep you all posted on things as we progress. Thanks. ~Amit

Please pray for Dr. Bhatia and the students as they prepare our new classroom for college instruction. We plan on having a ribbon-cutting ceremony when the time is right. Stay tuned!

COMPUTER UPDATE: The new laptop computers for our second cohort are here and will be delivered to them in the near future!

FALL BANQUET UPDATE: We are in the process of planning our Fall Banquet, Breaking Chains II, which is scheduled for September 26. There is an exciting possibility for the format of this banquet to be the first of its kind in the Northwest! And it will be compatible with Oregon’s social distancing guidelines. We will be sure to keep you updated as the plans come together.

P.S. Tom will be on THE GEORGENE RICE SHOW
on 93.9 KPDQ FM @ 3PM Today

Again, thank you for your prayers and financial support.