Read Between the Bars is turning five in 2012! The RBtB collective was founded in 2007 in response to the growing rate of incarceration in Arizona and a grossly inadequate commitment to providing educational resources to prisoners. RBtB’s vision was to get free books directly into the hands of prisoners as a way to provide comfort in a harsh prison environment and awaken new areas of interest that can help prisoners, both now and after release from prison.
Five years later, RBtB has sent thousands of books to people behind bars and continues its commitment to act as an ally to the many people who are caught in a burgeoning prison system that ignores many of their needs. To mark its anniversary, RBtB has launched a campaign to reach 500 likes on its Facebook page by the end of the year–500 likes for five years of service. With a strong show of support, RBtB will look more appealing to potential donors and show that Arizonans want better solutions to social problems than an increasingly profit-driven and increasingly punitive prison system.
In addition to the Facebook campaign, RBtB wants to celebrate with birthday parties. A great way to support Arizona’s books-to-prisoners program is to have a birthday party for RBtB’s five-year anniversary. RBtB volunteers have prepared a Fundraising House Party Guide (PDF) that supporters can download and read to get ideas on how to bring friends, co-workers, and neighbors together to raise funds to send books to prisoners. RBtB’s postage costs are a continual challenge, sometimes delaying the shipment of requested books by up to six months. But fundraising house parties have had an excellent track record of success for countless nonprofits, and their timing for RBtB couldn’t be better during this milestone year. Let the parties begin!