Dividends on your investment

Dividends on your investment

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By Jerel Skeith


in News

Dear PiFO Supporter,

I have been sending emails to our supporters centered around our students’ essays on the impact of the Paid in Full Oregon program at OSCI. One of our supporters responded to me last week. He was so thankful for these essays. He stated that these essays are like “dividends on his investment.” Wow! I was floored by his analogy…DIVIDENDS ON INVESTMENT. Here is another dividend on your investment:

I was fortunate enough to get picked for the first cohort for Corban University in 2019. I honestly didn’t understand the challenges and blessings that stood before me, because at the time all I had was a GED. Well, I know now, and I’m very grateful that I applied for the course.

I’ve been incarcerated for twelve years. One of the biggest trials of prison, besides missing my family, is lacking purpose. Corban University has truly given me a feeling of purpose that I’ve never felt in prison before.

I didn’t realize how much I interrupted and talked over other people before. Our Psychology classes have taught me to be a more effective communicator, which is much needed for many of us. It’s also taught me how to pick up on specific issues another person might be struggling with. It’s amazing how that alone has given me the ability to get people, including my own kids, to open up and talk with me about personal things. It’s also taught me to be more empathetic, which has helped me counsel and mentor more effectively. It’s shown others that I care, and in turn that helps show the love of Christ. I now don’t just hear what my kids say, but now I know how to actually listen to them and listening to them is loving them.

Before Corban university I lacked confidence and felt that I was essentially academically dumb in a way. I found myself easily offended when I felt others were insulting my intelligence or lack of for that matter. When I got my first paper back for our first class as a freshman, and it had an “A” on the front of the page, I would have cried if there weren’t other classmates around me. I seldom ever had seen an “A” on any paper growing up. This course has given me the confidence I always needed to believe in myself. Now I feel like I can do anything in life. This course has not only helped many of us in here, but it will have a long lasting effect on many people for many years to come. The ripple effect will only be seen in eternity.

It’s so heart-warming to walk into our dayroom and see multiple AIC’s sitting down at the tables with their college books out studying. This is usually so foreign in prison. Watching how we help each other overcome the challenges of Math and other courses is very satisfying.

Learning about God along with our relationship with Him, effects how we live out our faith. Our Bible classes have given me a great overview of God’s Word, and that has helped me see how much God has loved His children since the beginning.

I hope my words have expressed how grateful I am for all your donations. I’m assuming there might have been some ambivalence on some of your decision making when it came to supporting us due to knowing that you are giving to inmates that have committed crimes. Thank you for seeing us as humans and not stereotypical criminals. Thank you all for making me a better Father, Husband, and person.

Sincerely Brad Ballantyne

Thank you for your continued support, both prayerfully and financially.

Ever grateful,


Tom Kohl
Executive Director and Founder