A note from the Odyssey Team:
We mourn the killing of George Floyd and join the national outrage that it has sparked over police killings and other anti-black violence. As an organization that supports individuals of all races, cultures, and ethnicities, we must also clearly voice Odyssey’s firm commitment to ending racial injustice and our country’s historic devaluing of Black lives. As part of Odyssey’s mission to empower students to find their voice, we will continue to share some of our alumni’s responses to the protests galvanizing our city and country, along with the daily struggles, fears, grief, rage, and exhaustion they face as Black Americans.
The award-winning UW-Madison Odyssey Project takes a whole family approach to breaking the cycle of generational poverty through access to education, giving adult and youth learners a voice, and increasing confidence through reading, writing, and speaking.
Now in its 19th year, this inspirational project has empowered more than 500 low-income adults to find their voices and get a jump start at earning college degrees they never thought possible. Some graduates of the program have journeyed from homelessness to UW-Madison degrees, or from incarceration to meaningful work in the community.
In this six-credit English literature course, UW-Madison faculty members introduce adults to great works of literature, philosophy, history, and art and help them improve skills in writing and critical thinking. In class, students read, write about, and engage in lively discussions of Emily Dickinson, Martin Luther King, Walt Whitman, Shakespeare, Lorraine Hansberry, and more.
I am blessed to be in the Odyssey Project. This is my bridge towards breaking a horrible cycle of poverty. Everything that I learn I come back after class and teach my children about. My hope is that they retain this amazing information so that they recognize how amazing they are and how much they are loved.Charllienne Cotto, Odyssey Class of 2014