Volunteer Spotlight: Lindsay Morgan
VOLUNTEER BOOK CLUB FACILITATOR
Joyceville Assessment Unit, Kingston, Ontario
"When I moved to Kingston almost seven years ago, the thought of volunteering with the prison system that is so heavily represented in my chosen city, had not even remotely crossed my mind. Yet when I heard about BCFI, and the possibility of joining a book club at Joyceville, the instant and only reaction in my mind was, ‘yes!’. I would have been hard-pressed to explain why.
"I have learned in the intervening years that the books we choose together are very important. They not only get the volunteers in the front door, but they provide an immediate 'common experience’. We have all just read the same book. What is of ultimate importance in the time we spend together, however, is not so much this common experience, but the fundamental recognition of our common humanity. The men let us know this, in one way or another, every single time we are there. They feel seen. They feel valued as individuals. That is why we are there.
"Most of our members are first-time offenders, struggling to find their footing in a new reality. They are dealing with many unanswered questions, not the least of which is where they will be sent to serve their sentence. When we tell them that no matter what federal institution they go to, there will likely be a BCFI book club, their faces light up. Recently, one of our members learned he was going to Beaver Creek. With help from BCFI Executive Director Eileen Henderson, a connection was made with the book club there. He arrived to a welcome from its coordinator. Can you imagine how that must have felt? Already seen, already valued."