One Year with College Guild

Around this time last year, my best friend Kaiʻolu suggested I volunteer with a Maine-based non-profit organization called College Guild after I shared my heart for prisoners and those who are innocent and incarcerated. College Guild is a volunteer-only organization that provides prisoners with educational and creative courses to stimulate productivity and enhance their time behind bars. The prison system is incredibly unjust and corrupt and College Guild believes that treating those who are incarcerated with respect and educational opportunities will ultimately reduce recidivism. Because College Guild isn’t an accredited system that provides prisoners with GEDs or other degrees, each person is allowed to choose each subject he wants. As a volunteer, I receive around one or two courses a month from a prisoner through the program and then I provide him with positive feedback and encouragement. Sometimes I receive different units from the same prisoner and it’s exciting to see how his work improves each time. I love volunteering with the program because I can complete each course response from home anonymously. It’s easy work, but it’s extremely valuable to the prisoners who want to better themselves from the inside. I have a soft spot for those in the prison system (depending on the crime of course) and reading through each response has shown me that anyone could be incarcerated with the right circumstances. Some people are born into a difficult environment with no support, which leads them to a life of crime. Some people commit felonies because they’re trying to support their families. Some people simply didn’t have a proper lawyer, didn’t know their rights, or were forced to take a horrible plea bargain. It all depends on the circumstance and I’m lucky enough that I’ve lived such a privileged life so far. Some people aren’t as lucky as I am. College Guild has taught me simply that. If you have any free time or are looking for a noble volunteer opportunity, please check out College Guild’s website. You won’t regret it!

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