GSU forum to focus on life's challenges after incarceration

2013-03-04T00:00:00Z GSU forum to focus on life's challenges after incarcerationFor The Times
March 04, 2013 12:00 am  • 

UNIVERSITY PARK | Growing up in Chicago’s now demolished Robert Taylor Homes on the city’s South side, Terry Banies learned at an early age that “black men weren’t supposed to live past the age of 23.”

Banies “tried to prove them right,” he said, but fortunately did not succeed. Though he fell into a “bottomless pit” of hopelessness, Banies held on. “I’ve been blessed to have two lives,” he said.

Today, in his second life, Banies is busy completing his Bachelor of Social Work degree and applying for admission to the Master of Social Work  program at Governors State University.

Banies is just one of several panelists to be featured at an open forum, “Generating Hope: Struggles, Challenges, Change ... Facing Life in Spite of Our Past,” to take place from 3 to 5:30 p.m. March 11 at Engbretson Hall at GSU. The forum will focus on the challenges and struggles of the formerly incarcerated, as well as their family members.

Sponsored by GSU’s Social Work Department, and made possible by a grant from the GSU Intellectual Life Committee, the program is free and open to the public.

“We’re presenting this forum for several reasons,” noted Lorri Glass, associate professor of social work at GSU, and program coordinator of the Bachelor of Social Work Program. “We’re trying to increase awareness of the issues of students with criminal backgrounds, as well as the challenges for those who have family members who have been or are incarcerated. This issue can have a significant impact on a student’s education, as well as career options.

“Our goal is to provide information, support, and resources for those facing this challenge — as well as hope. The importance of hope can never be taken for granted,” Glass said.

Governors State University is located at 1 University Parkway. For more information, contact Glass at

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