My Favorite APBP Memory
One of the things that I’ve learned in my four years as a volunteer at APBP is that a key value of books for people in prison is that they allow them to dream, to imagine other worlds and other lives. This is obviously true of books like novels and histories, of course, but books also allow them to imagine other lives and futures for themselves: becoming a carpenter or starting their own business or even having a self-sustaining farm on a quarter of an acre.
My favorite APBP memory is a perfect example of this. A couple of years ago we would regularly receive requests from Kevin, who went by the nickname Hillbilly, and his long, chatty letters soon made him a staff favorite. In one letter, Hillbilly confessed his passion for ham radio and asked if we could send him any books on the topic. Since we didn’t have any and it seemed unlikely that we’d get such a specialized book as a regular donation, I put out a call on our Facebook page to see if anyone could help us fulfill Hillbilly’s request. We immediately received three different ham radio books from three different donors. Very grateful for their help, we sent them off to him.
In addition, one of our founding members, whose father had been a ham radio enthusiast, gave Kevin a gift subscription to a ham radio magazine in memory of her dad. Because the subscription address was hers but the delivery address was Hillbilly’s, the only problem was she had no way of knowing if he was receiving it. And then one day, about nine months later, she got a letter from the magazine saying that they had received the article that Hillbilly had submitted and were considering it for publication. It was at that moment that we knew that we were still helping Hillbilly to dream.