Exciting happenings within WIEA
"Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”
First, we are grateful to announce that the Wisconsin Department of Corrections has approved a move of the Trinity campus from Waupun Correctional Institution (WCI) to Fox Lake Correctional. This move has been in the works over the past year as we’ve considered the potential benefits of placing the campus in a medium security facility. WCI is a maximum-security facility, and students who transfer there from other facilities to attend the program give up numerous liberties to do so. Over time, we felt removing this obstacle would create additional interest in the program, and the Wisconsin Department of Corrections has been supportive of this move and we’re grateful. Please pray for our students and staff during this upcoming transition.
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Robin Knoll, Dean of Students, recently attended a conference hosted by Calvin College with a focus on higher education in prisons, including Bible degree and Certificate programs. Robin came away with several observations. Because of the support of donors like you. . .
We are significantly farther along than most other programs when it comes to computerization. Our students have access to Chromebook computers, while many of their counterparts elsewhere do not. Many schools lamented how things would be easier if students had computers for their work.
No other programs conduct graduate visits like we have. This was a big “ah ha” moment for many, as Robin was able to share the value of these visits and how it communicates ongoing care for the students.
Many programs could only offer Zoom teaching due to funding limitations, thus not affording their students face-to-face contact like we can with our students. . . something that presents an extreme challenge for these programs.
Most programs talked about funding issues, relying heavily on Pell Grants. As such, they were limited in what they could offer. Some of the folks I talked with were intrigued with the concept of WIEA and were amazed at the commitment of our donors!
We received a booklet developed by the Calvin Prison Initiative that helps prepare students for the rigors of university study. Although in their first class (“Foundations of Adult Learning”) our students receive a book entitled “Becoming a Master Student”, we thought there might be things in the Calvin Prison Initiative booklet that we can put to use as well.
In all, we came away from the conference feeling extremely fortunate to have seen two classes graduate already. We don’t take this milestone for granted! Because of our donors, we believe we have a program that is looked upon as a model for what many around the country are trying to achieve.
Robin has continued with numerous graduate visits this summer. With each visit, he comes away both impressed and blessed to hear of the ongoing transformation within the hearts and lives of the students. Many of them have shared something that was said to them often during their time in the program...that their education wasn’t just for them, but also for everyone they encounter for the rest of their lives! The graduates have realized this again and again as they pull their education into practical application daily among the men they interact with. Several of the students expressed interest in helping to recruit new students and share the influence the program has had on their own lives.
Meet a Board Member
Alice Koepke has a heart for inmates and their families. She has been visiting a family member serving a life sentence in a Wisconsin prison for over 40 years. She joins WIEA with thirty years of experience in Jail and Prison ministry. Alice currently volunteers with CRU and Brother Bob’s Outreach Ministries. She also mentors and facilitates Bible Studies and Worship Services at several prisons. She has been a Celebrate Recovery leader at Northbrook Church for over 10 years. She was the administrative assistant to the Lead Pastor and the Mission’s Ministry Assistant at Northbrook Church for eleven years. Married to Ron Koepke for fourty-five years, and widowed in 2016, Alice has three sons, 18 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren.
PRAY WITH WIEA
Specific prayer requests this summer:
Praise God for the work He allowed us to do for the past six years at Waupun Correctional, and creating a warm, friendly environment for us to serve in.
Praise God for the vision of the Department of Corrections, that they see value in this program and are embracing our move to Fox Lake Correctional.
Praise God for the changed hearts in the men that we have been blessed to come alongside these past six years.
For a smooth transition in our move from Waupun Correctional to Fox Lake Correctional
For safety in transporting our students from Waupun Correctional to Fox Lake Correctional
That this move will allows us to attract more students to the program
For the staffing issues of the Department of Corrections to be resolved across the state