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Wow. I have loved seeing your new career. The comment about visits from the community really struck me. I'm a retired teacher and have some time available. What can a person like me offer at a jail or prison? I'm also on chemo and can't be there every single week, but could be a regular presence. (The issue of consistency is why I hesitate to volunteer at a school; I just don't think kids have the same flexibility and understanding.) Is it just contact? A real person? Tutoring? I'm curious....thank you!

Traci, all of it. I would contact a jail or prison near you and ask about volunteer opportunities for a retired teacher. Most have GED programs where tutoring would be super valuable. Also the prisoners I work with are hungry for new classes bc many have taken all that has been offered. I started a creative writing class and an public speaking/communication class. Oh and theres even been requests for a book club.

We held a community conversation at the prison here where folks from Seward came to the visiting room and sat in a circle with staff and prisoners and what struck me the following week is how many men couldnt stop talking about how thankful they were that regular people wanted to take time away from their schedules to talk to them. And that was just one evening.

And dont worry about not being able to be there every week. The schedule is often interupted in a prison due to lock downs so they get use to missing classes and programs. I also know there are some national pen pal programs to write letters to prisoners which is another way to connect.

I can only imagine how grateful these men are that you interact with them as humans. Most moments for them carry the reminders that they are prisoners, defined by their crimes and made to feel lesser and unfree in society's eyes. You are a gift to them 😊

Thank you, Christy! All of those ideas are within my capabilities. I'm an English/Spanish bilingual, which might also be useful. I will get on this on Monday!

Christy, I too believe that outside contact with prisoners can be beneficial... to both the incarcerated and the visitor. I gained a new understanding of the inmates my co-worker and I met with for six weeks to train them to coach others in a literacy program. The training schedule did not allow for much exchange of personal experiences, but I think the trust generated in that shared effort made a positive impact on the lives of all of us.

Yes, Linda to the visitor as well--after our community conversation whenever I ran into folks in town who attended they said they were still thinking about the impact of the dialogue. Even if you didn't share personal stories just the connection around a subject is meaningful. I'm glad you had this opportunity.

Greta so true that their crimes define them and they do not get the opportunity to be seen as humans.

Traci being bilingual is super useful. let me know if you are able to get involved:)

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