Success Story: Chris

 When Chris Jones walked through the door of the Post-Prison Education Program and was asked, "what do you want to be," we never expected to hear him say, “An electrical engineer.”

Chris’s path to genius was not the one followed by most people who achieve Ph.Ds. When Chris was 13 he was homeless and living in abandoned buildings. At 14, his father passed away and Chris began to abuse drugs. He wasted his intellect stealing cars to pay for his addiction. Chris had given up.

At the age of 21 he was released from his first incarceration in the adult prison system, still battling addiction and homelessness. One month later, Chris was behind bars again. Over the next five years, he was in and out of jail several times a year and spent most of his free time drunk or high to numb the hopelessness.

In 2007, Chris was finishing a three-year prison sentence when he first heard of the Post-Prison Education Program, and he applied.

When he released from prison, he was blanketed with support from the Program. He was provided with clean and sober housing, help paying tuition, books, a bus pass and a laptop. He was connected with opportunities, mentors, and a support system. Chris began to use his intellect for educational purposes and was asked to be a speaker at his graduation from North Seattle Community College where his opening line was, “because I’m here today, your cars are safe.” Chris’s graduation message helped all to recognize the importance that healthy individuals make on healthy communities.

Chris is now a senior at Washington State University studying Electrical Engineering and published with Penn State University after being selected for a summer internship program under the National Science Foundation.

Not only is Chris committed to his own education and becoming an Electrical Engineer, but he is also an advocate for change and diligently gives back as a member of the Board of Directors for the Post-Prison Education Program.