Grant #277

unPrison Project

January 15, 2018

She saw two prisoners sharing one duct-taped pair of reading glasses, and she had an awesome vision to help.

Deborah Jiang-Stein has a jaw-dropping personal story: she was born in prison to a mother convicted of drug-related crimes. Perhaps it’s no surprise that she cares deeply about children whose parents are incarcerated, and she knows those children depend on how well the parent can do. Deborah visits prisons and teaches life skills. She was speaking to a crowd of 300 in a women’s prison when she saw a woman passing a pair of broken reading glasses to the woman next to her. The glasses were duct-taped together. One of the earpieces was snapped off. In order for the women to be able to see, they passed the one pair of shattered glasses from one woman to the next down the row.

Deborah couldn’t ignore such a huge impediment to the women’s progress, especially one that could be fixed with glasses. She rounded up donations of thousands of pairs of reading glasses, along with books that women can read to their children on visiting day. Reading helps women succeed outside of prison. They need literacy skills in order to get work, to continue their lifelong learning, and to maximize their potential. Reading with their children while they’re still incarcerated helps strengthen the bonds between parents and children, which benefits both in so many ways.

This Awesome Without Borders grant will pay for shipping hundreds of pairs of reading glasses and books to a prison where the inmates will get help to see better–as well as help with a vision for their eventual release. It’s shameful that prisons don’t provide basic needs, which makes it all the more awesome for someone like Deborah to step in with the gift of clear sight.

Learn more and follow along with Deborah’s journey:, Facebook, Twitter



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