Become Penpal - Instructions on How to Become a Devotional Pen PalIn order to select a pen pal, the very first thing you need to do is register yourself with our system with a user-id and password you choose along with contact email address and your name. To register, please click at the Penpal Registration menu.
Once you have registered, you can login to your account to become a penal to any inmates. You can choose as many inmates as you like.
To choose a pan pal, click at the 'My Pen Pals' menu item which displays two tables. The table at the top lists the current pen pals (empty when you start new), and the second table shows the list of all the available pen pals to choose from. They are listed alphabetically by their names, followed by the prison, gender, date when they originally contacted the prison program and so on.
If you click at the 'View Details' link for any inmate, it will display all the detailed information about the inmate. From a questionnaire completed by the inmate, you can view details such as name, mailing address, some information on his background (as it relates to his understanding of Hinduism, yoga,and/or Krsna Consciousness), and a few other items as well. You will also find the list of books and other items that have been sent to the inmate by a pen pal or by another member of the Prison Program.
The information on these questionnaires can help you in selecting a pen pal, and we will talk about this in the Suggestions section which talks about selecting an inmate pen pal , but for now, we are just concerned with the procedures involved in the selection process.
After reading the above-mentioned Suggestions section all you have to do is look through the inmate profiles until you find one that you wish to correspond with. Once you have selected a pen pal, you can choose an inmate as a pen pal, by simply clicking at the 'Choose Pen Pal' link that will add you as a pen pal for that inmate and re-display the page. Now we will see the new pen pal in the top table. You can also 'Drop Pan Pal' an inmate from your current list simply by clicking at 'Drop Pen Pal' link.
Once you have chosen a pen pal, if you like, you can print out a copy of this details, so that you will have all of his/her information to refer to when you begin your correspondence. Of course you can view the details any time through your computer.
Our system will have all these information stored securely and no one else except the prison seva administrators can access your information about the list of inmates you are communicating with.
That's all you need to do to select a pen pal and register your selection with us. Now, you have your pen pal's name, mailing address, and some additional information about him/her. This information should help you break the ice in your first letter, so that it does not have to be a formal presentation. We'll give you some ideas on writing this first letter in the Suggestions section.
The books that are received so far by the inmates are also maintained in our system. Initially this information is loaded from the questionnaire filled out by the inmate. Later whenever pen pals like you send any book(s) to them, we request you to update the record about the books sent by you by clicking at the 'Update Books Sent' link for the inmate. The page displays all the books so far received by the inmate and you can add the new books sent by you. The list will be very useful to check if the inmate already has the book before deciding to send.
You can also contact us if you ever have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this Prison Seva program pen pal procedures or your experiences as a pen pal. We would love to hear from you. All these are shared in our web and can be found by clicking at the Pen Pal Experiences menu.
We want to make the prison pen pal program as attractive and accommodating as possible, so anything you could share with us to help us meet those goals would be greatly appreciated. If you share your positive experiences with us, let us know if you want us to use your name, because we'd love to share them with others so they can read first-hand accounts of the spiritual rewards that a pen pal receives.
Please read all the contents in the "Suggestions" section. We hope that you will be selective in choosing a pen pal based on some of the ideas we provide you with, and that you will form a lasting bond with the inmate you select. However, we are aware that this is not always the case. Should you ever wish to give up your pen pal, please send us that information as well.
So the process to become a devotional pen pal is quite simple.
- Register with us (if you have not done yet)
- Review the inmate files, and choose a pen pal.
- Optionally, print your pen pal's details.
- Begin your correspondence.
- Whenever you send books or paraphernalia to an inmate, update the record
Other than following these basic procedures, the way you choose to interact with your pen pal is totally up to you. Each and every relationship will be completely individualized based on such factors as your own preaching experiences and the techniques you have found to be effective, the educational and devotional level of the inmate you correspond with, and a wide variety of other things such as commonality in background.
We ask you to always keep in mind that the real purpose behind your pen pal letters is to preach. This form of devotional service will allow you to become most dear to Sri Krishna. By preaching, you are following the instructions of Lord Caitanya and Srila Gurudeva to become siksa gurus to the fallen souls. If you always bear these things in mind each time you write your pen pal a letter, you should find it to be a very rewarding experience. We pray that you become a successful devotional pen pal and that you are able to deliver the fruits of prema to the inmate lucky enough to have your merciful association.