Lisa Flam of MSNBC is reporting that Hope House, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit that works to keep kids connected to their incarcerated fathers, developed the Father to Child Summer Camp to accomplish that goal.
Founded in 2000, the camp, which serves inmates from Washington, D.C., is now held at two prisons in Maryland and a third in North Carolina that range from low to maximum security. Kids ages 9 to 14 spend their days with their dads in the prison gym or visiting room. Together they dance, drum and make murals and create things like a family crest. At night, the kids and counselors sleep at an off-site facility.
Flam reports that two of the current camp counselors had children who went through the program. For the past decade, these mom-counselors, one of whom is named Sharon, have seen the happiness in their charges and sometimes the hurt and fear as well. They know what it's like for the campers who have felt shame or been teased at school.
Above all, they know that these children just want to be with their fathers and feel their love. Flam reports, "These kids, they want to have a dad on the outside," Sharon says. "They want to be loved. They want that completed family."
It's hard to argue over the need to keep children and parents connected. While it is a lofty goal, is this the best way to go about it? Some would argue that kids do not need to be influenced by incarcerated parents. Others might argue that preserving the parent-child bond supersedes that concern, while others would feel that normalizing the prison experience is too much of a risk for the kids involved. What are your thoughts?
Read more at MSNBC.
In other news: World War II Black Veterans Group Disbands.