Having an incarcerated parent is traumatic for kids. They tend to be forgotten demographics, a victim. That is why Andrea Shelton is equipping these parents to be the best parents they can be inside prison walls.
People can get mad at individuals in jail, so frequently the needs of the care providers and the kids are forgotten, clarifies Shelton, president of the Heart Bound Ministries. I think it is so essential that people bridge the gap between parents and kid when they’re split by prison. This isn’t a place where one can just go at any time and visit your parent.
Back in Georgia, there is an estimated 75, 000 kids with incarcerated parents. The country is full of incarceration rates and reduced in literacy. Shelton saw this as an opportunity for change.
In the year 2014, Shelton established
Heart Bound Ministries Small Readers program, a personalized, documented
reading program allowing kids from imprisoned parents to see and hear their
mothers and dads Reading a book on them DVD. Parents may choose from a number
of books to read, they are also able to choose a different shirt to wear for
the recording, and so their kid does not must see them in their prison
The DVDs make it possible for children to see their parent is fine and still loves them.
A Community Thrives.
Back in June 2018, Shelton received a call that changed the course of the Small Readers program. Her non-profit won a grant of $50, 000 through a United States TODAY NETWORK initiative named A Community Thrives.
Full of the enthusiasm of all of
possibilities, Shelton began with a notion she conceived in 2003: literacy
Having sat through visitations at least 16 months when my own brother was incarcerated, I just saw these children and these indications that loomed in each visitation room, you are accountable for your kids, and they’d to behave, right? I thought, that’s so hard. To sit there that long when you are little with absolutely nothing to do,’ remembers Shelton.
Shelton would sit in these rooms, simply thinking of the possibilities. With new resources and new funding in her disposal, her dream became reality. In the autumn of 2018, Small Readers rolled out 68 literacy carts, full of books, puzzles, flashcards, games and much more.
Parents may choose from 50 distinct titles to read with their little ones.
Additionally to advancing literacy in visitation rooms, Shelton also used the grant money to expand the Small Readers program to brand new facilities and equip centres with their very own recording applications, raising the amount of youngsters affected from about 1, 000 a year to over 1, 600 in 2018.
Children also have an Opportunity to get more DVDs and books during the year as an increasing number of facilities gain their very own equipment and may capture more often. We might be changing outcomes here.
We might be changing the direction of a kid’s future because they sat on their parent’s lap when they were a small in a visitation room, plus they read, says Shelton. Shelton hopes to continue expanding and to develop interactive workbooks for parents and their kids. She also has a message for other states:
“There should be a literacy cart in every prison in the country. Maybe Georgia will start the trend.”