Bringing Books to Prisoners

Recently, LOHS teacher Daniel Eizyk has been spreading the word around the high school about an organization called Books to Prisoners. At the start of nearly every Criminal Justice period, he begins by encouraging his students to volunteer through the program, and on any given Tuesday night, several students attend.

Books to Prisoners is a unique, eye-opening volunteer opportunity available to high schoolers and anyone else wanting to participate. A Seattle-based nonprofit organization, its stated mission is to “foster a love of reading behind bars, encourage the pursuit of knowledge and self-empowerment, and break the cycle of recidivism.”

On Tuesdays from 5 to 7 p.m., volunteers meet in the Dismantle, Change, Build Center in North Portland and open letters from incarcerated people who request certain topics or genres of books. Then, volunteers search the center’s shelf of donated books for the best matches, package them up, and label them for shipment.

“Books to Prisoners was a super interesting and fun experience; it was cool to read the letters from people who are incarcerated and be able to send them books they are interested in,” said senior Kiana Langeliers, who recently attended her first shift.