Home > Local Woman Recognized for Helping to Educate Inmates Around the Country-Rosemary Anderson

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Local Woman Recognized for Helping to Educate
Inmates Around the Country
Rosemary Anderson Receives Dignity & Respect Champion Award
 
–Rosemary Anderson “believes in kindness” and has dedicated the past five years to writing cards and buying books with some of her own money as a disabled Air Force veteran to send to lonely prisoners around the United States.
 
Spring Grass Book’em is a books-to-prisoners program that mails books to inmates nationwide. Currently, it is not yet tax-deductible, but all donations received go toward postage, packing tape, books, and more. The program works to help imprisoned people who have been abandoned by their families, don’t have access to the library, or anyone incarcerated who wants to learn any subject or skill. The volunteers at Spring Grass Book’em urge that books can change lives and minds, and can therefore change society for the better.
 
“I love sharing books, and prisoners are the most receptive groups to books. Many of the books are donated, but I also buy some at thrift stores. Inmates request every subject there is, from anthropology to a lot of history, English and vocabulary, GED, trade skills such as carpentry and plumbing, etc. We’ll also send magazines, with National Geographic and the Smithsonian being favorite requests,” Rosemary says.
 
Nominated by an inmate in Beaumont Penitentiary in Texas, Rosemary was selected as the February 2012 Dignity & Respect Champion.
 
“Rosemary finds time to write to lonely inmates like me, even though her books-to-prisoners ministry is without funding, a van, or an adequate office space. She helps thousands of us inmates to keep our sanity and to educate ourselves, especially when we are in solitary or not allowed to go to the prison library.  She also finds people at her church and in her community to be pen pals to some inmates, many who never hear from their families at all,” says Rosemary’s nominator.
 
The work of Rosemary and her organization has been recognized and recommended by many around the area including the Mayor of Forest Hills, the director of Veterans Against the War, and the head of the Human Rights Coalition/FedUp project.
 
“I am impressed with the focus, determination, and effort [Rosemary] has expended to provide the imprisoned with the power of reading materials,” says Marty O’Malley, Mayor of Forest Hills, Pennsylvania. “It was a wonderful experience for me to see [her] demonstrate the work skills and determination to serve those most in need of help from others.”
 
 
Rosemary feels many people in society disrespect themselves and each other, especially the prisoners.  She believes that treating each other with dignity and respect is healing and it helps everyone expand in new directions.
 
“I believe that all people as human beings deserve dignity and respect. Our imprisoned fellow citizens, are in an environment where they are not only deprived of so much that we take for granted, they are also often subject to bad things including brutality and civil rights violations. They tell me that half the prisoners are into reading, and that books are often the only good thing in their lives,” Rosemary says.
 
Rosemary, a resident of Pittsburgh’s North Side, not only sends books to prisons, but also writes to about 50 inmates herself. 
 
“During the holidays, a homeless woman and I wrote notes to go with many Christmas cards to inmates in solitary or whose orders we haven’t gotten to yet. They are so very grateful to hear from someone on the outside and to know that they’re not forgotten, because we communicate with them respectfully. A letter or book acknowledges their humanity.”
 
The Dignity & Respect Campaign is an awareness initiative designed to join individuals, community leaders, community organizations, educational institutions, businesses, and corporations under the common notion that everyone deserves dignity and respect.
 
For more information and to take the Dignity & Respect pledge, visit dignityandrespect.org.
 
 
 
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