About Us

We create collaborative and innovative learning communities within correctional settings.  Inspired by the U.S. Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, W2B courses bring together incarcerated/criminalized students and students enrolled at colleges/universities to study together for semester long for-credit courses. To date, 38 W2B courses have been offered in Canada. The National Program Hub is located in The Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University, Kitchener, ON.

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Facilitator Trainings

We provide an annual five-day intensive facilitator training for educators wishing to learn the W2B pedagogical model and establish their own universities/colleges partnerships with local correctional settings. Trainings take place predominately at Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ontario. Participants engage in experiential activities and dialogue designed to learn the W2B pedagogy, including ‘facilitating’ rather than lecturing, engaging in circle processes, and creating an equalitarian classroom climate. Facilitators of the trainings are women incarcerated at Grand Valley, formerly incarcerated people, other collective members and W2B staff.

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The Walls to Bridges Collective at Grand Valley Institution for Women

The central responsibility of the collective at GVI is to design and facilitate the annual Facilitator Training. The collective also supports W2B classes at GVI and facilitates workshops about criminalization, gender, education, employment and social justice. The workshops we deliver in community settings are conducted in partnership with formerly incarcerated W2B alumni, living in the Greater Toronto Area.  The perspectives, voices and experiences of people with lived experience of incarceration are foregrounded in our workshops as we model the W2B pedagogy and facilitate innovative ways of engaging in dialogue about criminalization, imprisonment, stigma, education and employment. Participants have described our workshops as “transformative”, “enlightening”, “motivating” and “inspiring”!

 

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