Volunteers get involved with AIM for many reasons; some have been through their own hardships and feel they have something to give the women. Others feel the need to help ease the pain of incarceration. For some, it is a little of both. Many have never been inside a prison before, and imagine the women to be hardened, embittered, not caring much about their children.
To their amazement, the reverse is true. They are very much like other women, care deeply for their children, and are determined to look out for their welfare. They are grateful for everything AIM and our volunteers do for them. Volunteers see a wealth of talent and spirit among the families in the most difficult of circumstances. When the families are together, their happiness fills the room, and makes us all forget where we are.
Hear from AIM volunteers
"When I first started volunteering with AIM, I thought it would be a good way to minister to the women. Little did I know that through the years they would minister to me as much as I to them."
Diane Dawson, volunteer
"As far as reward for volunteering, it doesn’t get any better than this."
Pat Ivie, volunteer
"You really develop a bond with the children and I so much enjoy seeing the reunions of the mothers and children."
Pebblin Warren, volunteer
"I look forward to my monthly visits to the prison. I can go in on a day when I’m feeling down about something, and come out rejuvenated and realizing that I don’t have any real problems. Here are families that have been ripped apart and mothers who only see their children once a month if they are lucky. The smallest things have an entirely different meaning in prison. With one wrong decision, any one of us could find ourselves on the other side of that fence."
Sharon Christman, volunteer
"Working with AIM has changed my outlook on life. It makes me so much more appreciative of the little things that day-to-day we tend to overlook and take for granted i.e. air conditioning; the smell of fresh food cooking, grilled hamburgers, the hugs from our family members, the laughter of children coming from parks. The ladies in the book club have taught me more about life than I could ever teach them."
Debra Sylvester, volunteer
"I have really enjoyed working with the women involved in AIM’s visitation program at Tutwiler Prison. I think that so many times, women in prison are a forgotten population. Anyone who has the opportunity to talk with these women or watch them interact with their children will realize that mothers in prison are just like mothers on the outside: they love and deeply care for their children, and they want nothing more than to be able to provide a better life for their children than they have had. Although I am not a mother, I get a real joy out of seeing the spark in children’s eyes when they see their mother after a month of separation."
Emily Unnasch, volunteer