Messages of Hope and Encouragement for BHCP and TCP Students
Initiated by Erin Greenwell, MFA, Associate Professor of Communication and Media Arts, MMC students, faculty, and staff have made it a weekly tradition to send a compilation of well-wishes to BHCP and TCP students to keep the community connected and supported during these exceptionally difficult times of isolation and despair.
Prison staff and administration have worked out a way to shuttle course work and assignments from faculty on the outside to BHCP and TCP students on the inside in order to prevent the students’ semesters from being cut short (read more here).
“All teaching and grading is being done through snail mail, and so the BHCP and TCP students are even more isolated from their professors and classmates than the 71st Street students,” Greenwell remarked. “I remember the relief we felt in our online 71st Street classes when we were finally able to see each other through video conferencing. It made me want to find a way to connect to the Bedford and Taconic students that didn’t overload the logistics of what the teachers and admin were already doing to keep education moving.”
Now, each week, Professor Greenwell solicits drawings, messages, and quotes from the MMC community and arranges six onto a single letter-sized sheet of paper. She then sends the document over to Aileen Baumgartner, Director of the Bedford Hills College Program, and Lisette Bamenga, Academic Coordinator for the Taconic College Program, who print copies and put them into envelopes to include with each student’s homework package for the week. “It is such a morale booster,” says Baumgartner. “This small gesture is of tremendous help to these students.”
Thanks to the community’s participation, Greenwell has now distributed three weeks’ worth of messages to the students at Bedford Hills and Taconic. But more assistance is needed.
“I’m starting to run out of art work and quotes and I want to make it to the end of the semester,” says Greenwell. “Now more than ever, a simple note will go a long way.”
All members of the MMC community who are interested in supporting this meaningful initiative are encouraged to participate by following the instructions below.
Here’s How You Can Help
1. On a 2X2 piece of paper, write a note of encouragement and/or a drawing letting the BHCP and TCP students know you are thinking of them.
Examples have included flowers, hearts, and statements like “We’re in this together.” Something simple but affirming—it’s the thought that counts. You can sign your name or remain anonymous.
2. Take a picture of the note with your phone, and upload your file to the following link: tinyurl.com/SUSOcard
You can also email your submission or even just a typed statement to Professor Greenwell at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your support!