Friday, December 08, 2006

Speading a Little Cheer

It's a short message and not even real personal: "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from your friend Don. Take care!" It may not be much, but for the recipients, it is gold.

Sitting in their cold, stark, crowded and noisy cells the inmate will hear his or her name called for mail. They say nothing is as sweet as the sound of your own name. For those incarcerated their name called and a "you've got mail" is truly a magic moment.

"Someone cares, someone remembers, someone realizes despite my crimes I am still a human being with dignity", they think to themselves as they read the card. "I am someone who is lonely, someone who is in reality scared to death, humiliated beyond description, ruined, depressed, angry, despondent beyond words. I am someone who has to fight to live, endure incredible hardships, deprivation and humiliation. One day I was planning a night out with friends and making a note to get my car's oil changed. But in a whirlwind of calamity, I was handcuffed, stripped and given a number my freedom vanished. And now this stranger sends me a card and says he is a friend. "

"Maybe I can make it."

Get involved with Inmate penpals. Check out the link to Lost Vault on the links section of my blog. It is not for everyone, it demands a lot of time and patience. You may have to make the tough decision to stop writing someone because they are demanding, causing trouble or just not a good match. I have made at least 3 wonderful friends and look forward to their letters and cards.

If anyone would like to send a card to an inmate, contact me at donaldopato@gmail.com and I'll get a name and address out to you.

I may change a life....maybe even yours.

1 comment:

zridling said...

Thanks I needed this encouragement. It's tough for me to write every week when I live such a small, hermetic life. So I reach for non-technical things to talk about.

And jeez, with 10% of the US population now behind bars I wish juries would stop allowing judges and prosecutors to send everyone who's smoked a drug up the river for 15-20 years. Jeez!