Volunteers at the Aull Center Spring 2017

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9 April 2017 · 4:36 pm

JMU Service-Learning Weekend with APBP

The second annual JMU-WVU/APBP Service-Learning Weekend was a great success!

Eight inspiring JMU students spent their weekend with APBP, reading letters, wrapping books, watching documentaries, and talking about the criminal justice system. In our final discussion they started to brainstorm about how they could start this kind of work on their own campus. So beautiful. Here are some lines from their feedback: “from this experience I feel enlightened/amazed/ astonished because my eyes have been opened”; “this weekend has fueled my hunger to know more, and become more prepared to advocate and educate… There is so much to be done”; “It’s exciting to think of bringing a similar project to JMU”; “I cannot put into words all of the things I will take away. I know I leave here with a new sense/fire for doing everything I can to educate and become more involved…I take away HOPE.” 

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APBP in WVU NEWS

APBP is featured on WVU News (6:00 mark). Wonderful interviews with Mark Brazaitis and Delia Trickett!

 

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Women’s Book Club at Hazelton

From APBP’s wonderful graduate intern SJ Stout–

Today, the women’s book club at Hazelton totally blew my mind. This week we discussed Kazuo Ishiguro’s dystopian novel Never Let me Go. Whether loving it or hating it, we all delved in…debating about characters, ethics, personhood, control, and freedom. The novel left many of us perplexed, and touched. In the central premise, a group of children find themselves as “lucky pawns” in a system that (literally) preys on their bodies. That is, the children are cared for and tended to, but ultimately sacrificed and used up without their consent. We wanted to know, is it better to be handled gently but ultimately manipulated and used? Or is it better to know clearly and without illusion one’s own servitude? We can be controlled by soothing indoctrination (propaganda) or by cruel force. Katy insisted, “There has to be a third door. In this book there is no third door.” To which, someone else replied, “That’s where the sadness is.”

We felt the sorrow. But I also think we left, committed to the third door. 

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A Poem from Wallens Ridge State Prison

I’m confined to a world behind four walls
Where no one can see me and I receive no calls
Often I sleep and awaken alarmed
Thinking that I may be harmed
Thank God it’s a dream as I come to my senses
Then look out the window and still see fences
I make it somehow throughout the whole day
Waiting for mail call, but none for me they say
Not a letter, a note, or even a card
With nobody out there time really seems hard
Just a word or two to say everything’s fine
A few small words to ease my mind
Kind words, well wishes, just knowing you’re there
Anything for me to show you care
You’ll never know how much your book means
Until you’ve been where I’ve been
And seen what I’ve seen

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Please help me find this book

an APBP volunteer opened this letter the other day.

“I am writing you in hopes you can recommend me a book that will help me to turn my life around. I have never had a real job. I have been to prison 5 times now. I’ve done about 10 years all together. I keep doing the same thing expecting different results. I would like a book that will help me better myself.
“I do not have a job, house, car, place to live when I get out. I need a self-help book that will inspire me, better me, help me tune in and turn my life around. My mom is all I have left. I am 28 and my son does not know who I am. I need help to open my eyes. Can you find me a book I can read over and over and use it through out my life to change for the better. I read the bible some. I know there has to be a book for me. Something to make my mind stronger, smarter and teach me something. Please help me find this book. Thank you for your time.”

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Letters like this brighten our day

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“Before I go any further with this letter, I would like to say what you all are doing for inmates throughout the United States is such a beautiful thing. Providing books help inmates pass our time in a positive and moral fashion. Thank you.”

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