By Lt. Everardo Silva, AA/PIO
Calipatria State Prison

Last month, Calipatria State Prison donated close to $98,000 to local nonprofit organizations and schools. The funds were raised by the Inmate Leisure Time Activity Groups.

Over the past months, the Alcoholics Anonymous (A/A) and Narcotics Anonymous (N/A) programs, in partnership with local food businesses, sold food to other inmates as part of a fundraiser.  The proceeds were given to various programs throughout the local community, which included programs that assisted people affected by cancer, victims of crime and programs that promote education.

Recipients included programs within the City of Calipatria, (Calipatria High School Book Club, Culinary Arts Class, Fremont Primary School, Little League, and the Desert Volleyball Club).  Other recipients included the Nathan Mata Memorial Scholarship Fund, the Anthony Garcia Foundation, the Imperial County Victims Witness Assistance Program, Imperial Valley College Upward Bound, and the Westmorland School District.

Associate Warden Brian Paul, who represented the institution at the May 26, 2016, donation, said: “It is a great feeling to give back to the community, and as one of the largest employers in the Imperial Valley, it is the prison’s responsibility to make sure we stay good partners in the community.”

Clifton Butler, an inmate in the AA/NA program, said he feels that being incarcerated does not give him an opportunity to make a difference in the surrounding community.

Upon his hearing that the Anthony Garcia Foundation helps people with cancer, and to hear Mr. Garcia (father of Anthony Garcia) say, “Any amount, however big or small, is greatly appreciated,” made him feel good and gave him pride to know that he is part of something so positive in the surrounding community.

“Being incarcerated, we just don’t get to have that good feeling too often,” inmate Butler said.