About Gateways for Incarcerated Youth

What We BelieveImage of Gateways Brochure Cover

Gateways unlocks the potential within incarcerated youth. In our college readiness and academic mentoring programs, we experience these youth as scholars, poets, artists, athletes, sons, brothers, fathers, friends, and neighbors.

Since 1996, we have witnessed over a thousand youth take personal responsibility for their actions and positively contribute to our communities. We have witnessed an equal amount of students, concerned citizens, and public officials take societal responsibility for the fact that incarcerated youth are most likely to come from poverty, communities of color, and under resourced schools.

Gateways is committed to bridging these individual and societal gaps between education and incarceration. We are dreamers and schemers that will not throw away the key on this generation.

Our Approach

The National Prison Studies Project describes Gateways as “one of the only organizations that works with youth and emphasizes the importance of culturally relevant education through a popular education and participatory research approach.

Our belief in, and commitment to, popular education and participatory research comes from being part of the Center for Community-based Learning and Action at the Evergreen State College.

In theory, this means we study the teaching methodologies that come from leaders like Paulo Friere (http://www.freire.org), the Brazilian educator who wrote in the context of literacy education for poor and politically disempowered people in his country. In practice, this means incarcerated youth co-design and co-lead Gateways programs behind bars in juvenile correctional institutions.

important, in practice, this means we help incarcerated youth graduate from high school, earn college and vocational credit, prepare for college enrollment and employment upon release, and succeed on the outside.

“Gateways keeps my eyes on the prize. It keeps me motivated and working on my diploma and dreams. That includes never going back inside.”
– Gateways Youth Participant

Our History

In the spring of 1996, Dr. Carol Minugh, faculty at the Evergreen State College, received a phone call from Suzanne Cravey, a staff at the now closed Maple Lane School. Suzanne was trying to establish Native American and Latino cultural groups within that juvenile correctional institution. The response to that phone call is the birthing of the Gateways for Incarcerated Youth program as we now know it.

Between 1996 and 2009, the program grew from a volunteer opportunity to an academic offering through the Native American and Political Science departments at Evergreen State College, to a broader college readiness and academic mentoring experience. Upon the retirement of Dr. Carol Minugh, our original dreamer and schemer, Gateways became housed under the Center for Community Based Learning and Action where we continue to grow and develop today.

Our Partners

Gateways for Incarcerated Youth relies heavily on the support of many volunteers and partner organizations. Our key community partners today include: