A feeling of delightful gratification for a mentor typically comes about when seeing a mentee develop and realize success. Their reward is in victories the students achieve, which are often seen as a measure of the instructor’s own success, positive influence and guidance. Such is the story of Dr. Luis S. Garcia and the Education Based Incarceration program.
In May, 2017, Dr. Luis S. Garcia received his doctoral degree earned from Loyola Marymount University. This landmark life event was an especially proud and satisfying event, considering the metaphorically rocky terrain he travelled at the very beginning of his adulthood.
As a young man, Luis grew up in a law enforcement family with the advantages of public and private education, but he struggled to focus and found himself either dismissed or dropping out from school. Despite attending continuation and adult schools, and junior college, Luis found himself unsuccessful at following through with his education and without a high school diploma at 19 years old.
Without a complete education, Luis stumbled on a path of crime. Beginning at 18 years of age, he served numerous terms of incarceration within the Los Angeles County jail system and the California state prison system. He was emotionally lost, unable to maintain sobriety and felt unfulfilled with the dangerous, dead-end lifestyle he led; part of him felt shame from not living up to the hopes of his family, and he held a feeling of not being as advanced in life as his childhood contemporaries. Luis wanted better things for himself and decided to make a change.
The first step to altering his lifepath came in 1995 while Luis was in jail. He took advantage of educational opportunities and earned his high school diploma with the Education Based Incarceration program offered to inmates housed within the Los Angeles County jail system.
Although he continued to struggle in different aspects of his life, Luis remained determined; he sought higher education when possible and returned to a local community college to continue his scholarly journey. In the Fall season of 1998, Luis began undergraduate studies at Loyola Marymount University, which culminated in his earning a bachelor’s degree in 2001. Luis pressed forward on his path by completing a master’s degree in a social work program in 2007 at the University of Southern California.
Luis became Dr. Luis Garcia on May 7, 2017. The transformation was not just in title, receipt of knowledge or certificates, but in personal growth and insight which occurred over the course of over two decades of self-revision. Dr. Garcia reinvented himself because he recognized the need for change and improvement, and pushed himself to do it. Fortunately, he had the right opportunities and tools offered to him, which came at just the right time in his life.
Ironically, Dr. Garcia found hope during his 1995 jail term. He not only received education, but mentorship and encouragement; he took inspiration from Education Based Incarceration teachers and Sheriff’s Department members who became a source of motivation for his continued success.
Congratulations, Dr. Garcia!
Education Based Incarceration is a fully functional educational network within the Los Angeles County Jail System. It is comprised of sworn and non-sworn Sheriff’s Department personnel who work hand in hand with Charter High Schools, volunteer organizations and religious volunteers. This innovative program offers inmates within the Los Angeles jail systems educational opportunities, vocational and hands-on job training, and many other life-changing services.
The Education Based Incarceration Unit provides programs which can assist all interested incarcerated men and women to reach their full potential through education, empowerment, self-esteem, creativity, and self-respect, in order to make them better parents, spouses, and productive citizens in their communities.
Education Based Incarceration prides itself on educating and providing life skills to the incarcerated population which enables them to enhance their quality of life and become architects of their future by presenting opportunities for spiritual, educational and economic transformation.
For more information about Education Based Incarceration, visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EBILASD/ or Twitter at @EBILASD, or navigate their website at http://shq.lasdnews.net/pages/tgen1.aspx?id=EBU.