Three Years with College Guild

College Guild units

One of my greatest joys in life is getting to volunteer with College Guild— a nonprofit organization that provides educational courses (for knowledge and learning, not for a degree) to people in prisons across the country. As a volunteer reader, I receive one unit of work from a person in prison via the organization’s headquarters in Maine, and I provide positive and encouraging feedback to them as they improve on their learning and gained skills. I’ve been volunteering with College Guild every month for the past three years following Kaiʻolu’s suggestion that my love for people in prisons would translate well within this organization. I love College Guild because it not only gives incarcerated people the rare and valuable opportunity to expand their knowledge without strings attached, but also allows me to be a small part of the bridged gap between those inside and the rest of us out here. A majority of people in prisons are forced to commit crimes in order to survive life-threatening circumstances like poverty, while existing in a world where their education level is below sixth-grade learning and understanding. If we are not pouring resources and the best teachers possible into schools where kids are more susceptible to poor living conditions and inadequate access to food, healthcare, and education, we are setting a mass population up to fail. College Guild is an organization that can work to end or drastically reduce recidivism by treating people in prisons like the human beings they are; human beings who should have opportunities for growth, education, and rehabilitation in order to become better people. Over the past three years, I’ve learned more about incarcerated people’s stories than I would have by simply reading articles or books online, and for that, I would never trade this volunteer opportunity for anything in the world. I love knowing that by simply providing my feedback each month in what seems like such a small and simple task, I am connecting with new and different people and hopefully contributing to their self-esteem and knowledge as a whole. I’m truly thankful for College Guild and I hope that you all will volunteer with the organization as well by reading and providing feedback for one person’s unit each month. If you’re interested in volunteering, click on the College Guild link above!

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