Our mission is to empower San Quentin inmates through literacy. Proficiency in reading and writing enriches the lives of inmates as well as their families. It also gives them a greater chance of success on their journey toward rehabilitation.

Free To Succeed has worked successfully with San Quentin students for over 20 years. We operate Monday through Friday evenings, from 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM. Our students are hardworking, dedicated and appreciative. We inspire them. They inspire us.

Free To Succeed volunteers are everyday people – professionals, business people, a painter, a real estate agent, a programmer, a carpenter, a designer, a sales assistant, college students, an operations analyst, an accountant, an event coordinator, an administrative assistant, and yes, teachers.

We’re an all-volunteer, nonprofit working to change lives.

A Success Story – Alex


“Growing up I was a very slow reader, a bad speller, and I had the attention span of a gnat. I dropped out of school in the 11thgrade and eventually got my GED in 2009. When I came to San Quentin State Prison I joined Patten College Prison University. I only wanted to take classes dealing with numbers and I received an A+ in Algebra. But to take calculus I would need to take some English courses. English, my old enemy, was back. I would need a lot of tutoring. Then came Free To Succeed, some of the warmest people you’d ever want to meet.  Peggy, Karen, Dan, and the other tutors have really helped me improve my reading and writing skills. One of the classes I took for Patten College was English 101B. It focused on the democratic method of teaching which emphasizes teachers truly relating to their students on all levels from their weaknesses in learning, to the environment they live in, and the outside issues that may prevent them from giving their all. Free To Succeed allowed me to visualize what that democratic method of teaching looks like. Most importantly to me, the way they care is not a method. It is who they actually are.” AR