Dirk Van Velzen on his transition from crime to founding a nonprofit

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Incarcerated and justice-involved individuals are people with desires, goals, dreams and gifts, just like those of us “on the outside.” Dirk van Velzen, the founder and CEO of the Prison Scholars Fund, knows first-hand what it takes to discover and actualize the potential of people who are involved in our criminal justice system.

In this episode, Dirk dives into the factors that led to his incarceration, and how his education in prison and in re-entry led to starting PSF, a nonprofit that helps other incarcerated and justice-involved individuals to build on their unique educational and vocational interests, skills, and abilities. Through the work of PSF, lives are changed and cycles of incarceration, recidivism, crime and poverty that hamper families and communities are being broken.

Mentioned in the Episode

Prison Scholar Fund

History of the Prison Pell program

Penn State Organizational Leadership

University of Colorado Boulder Psychology

David G. Myers

Phil Zimbardo

Stanford Prison Experiment

Annenberg Foundation

Bannerman Foundation

Bernadette Clavier

Stanford Social Innovation

Jack Keroac- On the Road

Atomic Habits

Prison Scholar Fund Coding Program

Coding Dojo

Bard Prison Initiative

Coding Dojo

Bard Prison Initiative

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