July 16, 2019

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Finding Freedom - What Educators and Students Have to Say About Jarvis's Writings

"My eleventh grade Contemporary Composition students read selections from Finding Freedom in the spring and now again in the fall. I want to thank you again for helping my students find a reason to live and dedicate themselves to constructive living."

Los Angeles, California

"Our University class is reading your book Finding Freedom. We wanted to tell you how inspiring your book is and encourage you to continue writing. You have brought new meaning to Shantideva's statement:

Whatever joy there is in this world
All comes from desiring others to be happy
And whatever suffering there is in this world
All comes from desiring myself to be happy."
Hamilton, NY

"I was so touched by the way Jarvis's story touched my students that I am attaching a few of the representative essays in the hopes that other educators might see how powerful his work is in reaching out to students with no real experience of people in his situation."

Tucson, AZ

"I am an English professor living and working in the Northeast, and I am teaching a class this semester whereby incarcerated and "outside" students take a class together as peers, conducted in a correctional facility. I knew that I wanted to start the course by reading your book Finding Freedom together, and I asked that their first "paper" be a letter to you… Please know how warmly we all wish you well, and how absolutely heartened and moved and educated and resonated-with everyone was by your vivid, illuminating book."

Hadley, MA

I just discovered the web page for Jarvis and am relieved and grateful for his advocates. I am a teacher in Chicago who is using "Finding Freedom" in my English classes and have seen the lives of my students transformed because of his powerful message. I was looking for a way to contribute money to Jarvis's appeal campaign and have found it. Thank you.

Teacher in Chicago

Excerpts from 11th graders’ letters to Jarvis Masters after reading FINDING FREEDOM
From Bravo High School, Los Angeles, Ca. 2005

I want you to know that your book really helped me to appreciate life and not take it for granted. I’m not saying I know exactly what you went through, and I might not ever, but the way you describe your stories makes me not want to ever go through that.

Thank you for teaching me important morals and helping me understand the value of life.

Your faith and your actions serve to inspire others. Every member of my class was deeply touched by your work. Your honesty has helped open my eyes and given me a new hope in the faith of the human spirit. Your bravery under such daunting conditions is awe-inspiring. After reading your stories I have realized that one can never give up and that life is definitely worth living. Your work and your honesty mean a great deal to me. . I believe that you are an example of a person who has undergone adverse conditions and still remains hopeful that truth and innocence will prevail. It is your thoughts that have given me a newfound hope in humanity.

Your book really pushed me to care about other people more than to always care about only myself.

Finding Freedom should be on every 11th grade class priority reading list. I admire your motivation and dedication. Those essential qualities are what make you the strong and faithful individual that many seek to become.
– J.V.

Thank you for your inspiration. Because of you I learned that life has its ups and downs and no matter what an individual should have strength, hope in himself and others as well.

You have no idea what your stories mean to us. Your passages really touched my heart and my soul. I could keep on reading them for a long time. I’m not that type of person that enjoys reading, but I really enjoyed reading your work. Have faith in the Man up stairs because he knows right from wrong.

You have become such a positive person in San Quentin and around the world. You have made such an impact in my life by knowing what you’ve been through and still finding a way to give life to others and giving all of us hope in succeeding in life. I thank you.

Your book encouraged me to stay away from violence so I won’t end up in prison. Like yourself, I grew up with no father. I’ve sometimes thought no one loved nor cared about me, and it was hard to move on. You sound as if you take your experiences well. So I would like to thank you for the encouragement you spread not only to me and people across the States, but in my class. Hopefully, your words planted a seed in everyone, because it definitely did for me.

The story I found most affective was “A Reason To Live.” I loved the fact that you helped keep Alex from committing suicide. Through your technique, I found that life is important and very valuable. I hope one day you will be released into the world. Again.

This book has been such an inspiration because it taught me about myself. I should not take life for granted and be the best person I can be. Stay healthy and strong because good things happen to good people.

Thank you for showing me what matters most, thank you for giving me so much reason to love my life and the ones around me. You are truly a man with enough will, heart, and passion to touch millions. I hope you find all the things in your life that matter most.

I fear the thought of ending up in prison and I savor the security I have. How can you deal with such intense drama? The qualities which you possess are unparalleled.

I know it should not matter to me if someone I do not know at all is killed or not but my dad is in prison too, and I would not want no one to kill him in there. Thank you.

I got diagnosed diabetic at a very young age. Sometimes I see life in a very dark way. For me, it hasn’t been easy and sometimes I wish I was dead. From reading your stories I have learned to see life in a more positive way. Life is hard but we have to make the best out of it and bringing ourselves down is not going to take us anywhere. What advice would you give me about the way I feel about life? I would really appreciate if you took some time and gave me some advice about how to deal with life and not see it so negative.

I have learned to treat people equally and with more respect. You continue to inspire as well as remind others of the importance of respect for one another.

I want you to know that your book is read by many people and changes people’s ideas.

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