(KRON) – A Bay Area college freshman is able to attend the Academy of Art University after getting financial help from an unlikely source — prisoners in California.

“I got involved in the prison ministry in my sophomore year,” Syon Green said. 

19-year-old Syon Green is experiencing his freshman year at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. 

The opportunity was made possible after he volunteered to be a part of Palma High School’s Prison Ministry Program. 

During the program, Jason Bryant, an inmate who at that time was serving his 20th year at Soledad Correctional Facility, learned the student needing help paying his private Catholic school tuition.

“My codefendant who us actually my colleague out here had the idea that we need to find a way to actually support a young man who didn’t have financial means to attend the school,” Bryant said. 

“Me and my family were going through some hard times with payments and stuff,” Green said. 

Bryant says it was a collective effort on the part of he and his fellow inmates who each earn 8-cents an hour for prison labor.

“It took us approximately 3-years to raise $30,000. Knock on the cell doors of our incarcerated brethren and ask them to give what they could,” Bryant said. 

Earlier this year, California Governor Gavin Newsom commuted the sentences of Bryant and his codefendant Ted Gray for creating a scholarship through their creative restorative opportunities and programs organization. Syon Green is the scholarship’s first recipient.

“I definitely would like to see more of these types of programs throughout the prison system,” Green said. 

“Syon is the first of many,” Bryant said.

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