Kristin DeVault is a sophomore at West Virginia University, who grew up in Mason County, West Virginia. Kristin transferred to WVU last semester from Fairmont State to pursue a degree in Social Work and minors in Communications and American Politics in Policy. This school year Kristin works in the first-ever Federal Work Study position for APBP. Here is what she has to say about the experience.
“Not knowing quite what to expect other than working with a lot of books, I was anxious but very enthusiastic to start this job. Now, I realize that there was never a reason to be nervous about becoming a part of this organization. From my first day, I was welcomed with friendliness, warmth, and patience from everyone. I have learned a lot at APBP. Not only do I know how to wrap a book to make sure that it survives its journey through the mailing system, I know the massive impact that APBP has on the community, volunteers, and the individuals receiving books.
“There is something very raw and touching about opening letters for the first time, as inmates express their need for educational materials, books to read as a temporary escape, or as gifts for their friends. A letter that has impacted the way I think of my work at APBP was a man writing to request materials on his friend’s favorite subject, vintage cars and motorcycles, because his friend was confined to a wheelchair and unable to access the library. My job at APBP is more than sending books to prisoners. It bridges an information and resource gap between two completely different worlds.”
Grateful to AmeriCorps and friends from Thomas, WV, who organized a book drive and dropped off loads of material (over 800 books!) that APBP needs, including dictionaries & legal guides. They persevered through rain & snow to do good work!
Nice to learn that APBP helped this person lose 60 pounds. It is especially hard to stay healthy in prison. Books can help.
Last week the women’s prison book club talked about We’re All Doing Time, a guide from the 1970s about meditation, yoga, struggle, what it means to be calm and to be free. It was beautiful.
The first page of APBP’s first notebook of outgoing mail, followed by the first page of APBP’s most recent notebook (volume 4!) We’ve been doing this for 13 years and have mailed over 25,000 books and really like this tiger.
Listen to the first episode of APBP’s new podcast, “Contact Across the Divide,” featuring stories from APBP and West Virginia Innocence Project volunteers and exploring stories about what facilities, limits, and motivates contact with incarcerated populations.
Contact Across the Divide: Episode 1
We have collected letters with very specific requests that we cannot fill because we don’t have what they want in our storage space. We’ve reached out to our wonderful network for donations. Posting here because the list is so interesting!
• American Sign Language (2 copies needed)
• Beginner’s Spanish (3 copies needed)
• Bible (2 copies needed)
• Bible (large print) (2 copies needed)
• Book of Enoch
• Card tricks (how-to)
• Contemporary novel in Spanish
• Cross stitch book
• Crossword/word search/word puzzle book
• Dictionary (large print) (2 copies needed)
• Dungeon & Dragon (how-to play)
• Garfield comics
• Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”
• Planner/journal (2017-2018 with decorations/leaves)
• Star Wars book
• Stephen King’s “It”