Every Thursday Tyler Dube leads a group of fellow students to a church basement, where they read through hundreds of letters from prisoners seeking books, search through stacks of donated titles, and ship the requested volumes to inmates in prisons nationwide.

“For many prisoners, the Prison Book Program is the only way to get books outside of those offered in the prison library,” said Dube, who organizes Suffolk’s student volunteers for the program.

“Our work promotes the prisoners’ educational development with the hope that these men and women can use their newfound knowledge to better themselves. It’s inspiring to see how many of them want to learn and grow. Some of their biggest requests are for dictionaries and study materials to get their GEDs.”

Raising awareness

Dube, a senior majoring in sociology is involved because he cares about incarceration issues.

Last fall, he organized a campus demonstration to raise awareness about the use of solitary confinement. He marked off the dimensions of a typical 7-by-9-foot cell used for solitary confinement cell in the middle of a busy campus location. The perimeter was lined with sheets of factual information about solitary confinement.

“I wanted people to think about what it would be like to be locked up in such a small space for all but one hour a day, and whether or not this is a justifiable practice,” said Dube.

He plans a career in criminal justice policy and intends to continue service similar to the Prison Book Program when his student days are behind him.

Suffolk University’s Center for Community Engagement supports the Prison Book Program in partnership with the United First Parish Church in Quincy, and the center has played an important role in his Suffolk activities.

Acts of kindness

“With so many Suffolk community service programs available, I’ve had many opportunities to learn while helping other people, and I’m very grateful for that,” he said

The impact of service hit home when Dube visited El Salvador as part of Alternative Winter Break in 2014, joining other Suffolk students in learning about the Central American nation and helping to build a family home.

“That was the moment I first realized that small acts can have a huge impact,” he said. “The experience solidified for me that a little bit of kindness really can go a long way.”