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Marissa, volunteer of the month


Marissa Cowden

What made you start working at BTP?

I was working at a marketing agency and I needed a book fix in my life. Before that I was volunteering at the library but I had to quit that for a full time job. One day I was looking at Craigslist and I saw your ad for BTP. I thought it sounded pretty cool.

Is it what you expected?

I didn’t think everything would be so lenient. I was more used to structured volunteer activities, what your commitment had to be and what you had to do. It’s very lax.

Lax in a good way?

Sure, lax in a good way. It’s not a lot of pressure. I try to get things done while I’m there.

Do you feel good about your work there?

Yeah, I really like that prisoners ask for educational materials, it’s not just mystery novels but it’s dictionaries and GED materials–they’re trying to better their lives.

Has it helped you in your view of the world or specifically the justice system?

I guess I haven’t thought about that a lot…how little resources they get in prison for education. I personally don’t know a lot about the prison system…I’d be interested to learn more about it.

So what do you get out of it, working at BTP?

How personal the letters can be, how they got into prison, their financial situation, doing life sentences, it’s always very interesting and telling.

When did you start?

May 2013

And you come to BTP regularly?

I try to come every week but lately it’s been every other week.

What do you think about working in the basement (re: our move in August 2014 to the basement of the church)?

It’s cooler! I haven’t been to the basement so I don’t know what it’s like. The building is a little weird, maybe it’s haunted! I don’t think it matters that we will be in the basement; the room (we are in now) can be miserable (in the summer)!

You feel it’s a social thing? You come with a friend?

I go with a friend; we eat dinner and then we go to BTP for a few hours.

What do you do in your normal job?

I’m a page at the KCLS Woodinville Library so I mostly put away books, put paper in the printers, push chairs in, stuff like that.

So the patrons at the public library must be really different from the patrons at BTP!

I never thought about it that way! Yes, they’re very different!

Thanks, Marissa!


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