before & after
So grateful to our amazing summer interns and volunteers–Katie Vogelpohl, Beth Staley, Corina Scott, Emilie Shumway–who have spent hours & hours pruning our shelves. The workspace is light and airy, and the books people want so much easier to find!
Every now and then someone in prison sends APBP a donation. Usually this comes in the form of 5 or 10 dollars. The other day we received a check for $150.00 from a man incarcerated in Pound VA. He thanked us for a Ralph Compton book that we had sent and said he wanted to make a “small donation” to our educational outreach project. “I’ll be 70 years old in December and reading is one of the real pleasures I get out of life.” He also offered to send back to APBP the books that we send to him after he has read them. That way “you can send them back out … I look forward to reading the varied subjects you send me.”
Lydia Welker, an English graduate student in Professional Writing and Editing at WVU, walked into my office a couple years ago and said, “I’d like to help with APBP.” And so began Lydia’s work. She became an intern and very quickly was training new volunteers, upgrading forms, improving our communication systems, explaining all things technical, and assisting with both book clubs at Hazelton. She continues to handle our gmail account (thank you thank you thank you).
Lydia has been absolutely amazing–generous, dedicated, eager and able to solve problems. Last month, she earned her degree, and we are going to miss her. But we also do not plan to let her go!
Some words from Lydia as she heads out the door:
“It’s been an incredible two years: I taught writing to undergraduates, helped facilitate book clubs in two federal prisons, learned about the horrors of the prison industrial complex and the beauty of sociolinguistics, researched digital publishing, wrote grant proposals with faculty across campus, built and maintained several websites, and took a work trip to Norway. I don’t know what’s next for me, and I can’t wait to find out, but I do know I’m going to miss these mountains.”
Fourteen men at Hazelton Correctional Center prepared a 3-hour interactive workshop for the sixteen students in my graduate prison studies class last night (ENGL 631). As always with a large group, there were a million logistical challenges, clearances and concerns about dress code, a caravan of cars, exhaustion. Once we were there, none of that mattered. Within minutes an ice breaker had everyone laughing and deep in conversation. The two facilitators read a poem, a poem written by a woman in another prison, and asked us this question, “how do you live life without detaching yourself from reality.” In pairs, groups of 4, then larger groups, we went round & round this question, debating what constitutes reality, detachment, and living life. I’m so grateful to the men in the Hazelton Think Tank, to staff who stayed late to make this happen, to my open-hearted students who are already changing the world, to APBP which has supported the book clubs, and without the book clubs, both of them, this beautiful workshop would not have happened. –katy ryan
On April 11, the student APBP organization hosted a wonderful fundraiser at 1-2-3 with music by Beth Staley and Matthew Thomas. Thanks to Phoenix Bakery for donating pizza (and to Alex Kessler for making the pizza!) and to everyone who came out. Special thanks to Avery Williamson who pulled it all together. Raised over 230.00!
How did APBP volunteer Jordan Carter spend part of her birthday — at the Aull Center wrapping one book for each year she’s been on the planet!