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February’s Volunteer of the Month: Sam

Sam Herrera

When did you start volunteering with Books to Prisoners?

I’ve been volunteering since November 2014. I should probably mention that I started because I needed to complete community service…but I ended up loving the organization so much that I kept volunteering!

How often do you volunteer?

As often as I can. Usually four or five times per week. Honestly, I wish that I had found this place a little sooner–it’s really rewarding for me.

Why is is so rewarding for you?

It could be any one of us writing in there. I like knowing that I’m helping prisoners learn. When I can find books that PERFECTLY match a prisoner’s request…those are the best packages. Sometimes, we just don’t have the right donations (like books on construction or starting businesses), but when we have just the book they want…! It’s rewarding to be able to make someone’s day better with a simple book.

What is your favorite activity during a shift?

Wrapping the packages of books, definitely. I like to be the final authority, really make sure that the best books get to the prisoners. There are so many slackers around here otherwise! I have to keep my eyes peeled!

Okay, you’re laughing while you say that. “Slackers”?

No, no, I’m joking. I love giving other volunteers a hard time. But the truth is that the volunteers here are inspiring. How great is it to see so many people giving their time and energy to send free books to prisoners?

So when you’re not sitting at the wrapping station giving grief to your fellow volunteers, what do you do?

I’m trying to read more. Currently, I’m reading this interesting novel about Houdini. It’s fiction, but it also describes his background. Things I didn’t know, like how he was an immigrant who grew up in poverty and how he supposedly had a side career as a spy! The book even teaches readers some of his tricks.

What would you say to someone reading this interview?

Try volunteering here! It has actually made me want to start volunteering even more. Knowing that you’re making a difference in the world is an incredible feeling. I feel lucky to have found this place.

Sam (and Nuka, Sam’s step-pup!), thanks for talking with us today.


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