You've never seen me endorse an organization to this extent. I stand behind the Messages Project because I comprehend the necessity of the services it provides to prisoners and their children. I already said that. I also explained that Carolyn was supposed to add words of her own to my first post about the organization. She and I have finally turned up on the same page.
When I wrote about the Messages Project, I focused on the beneficial effects the program has on inmates who need closure before they can move on and be productive. After communicating with Carolyn I now see that the children of incarcerated persons benefit even more than the parents do.
Since 1999 the project has visited 12 state prisons in Virginia three times a year to create video tapes through which incarcerated parents communicate to their children. The videos are often accompanied by books, poems, and or messages which the parents have read during the recording. Some of the messages are sent internationally, but most are domestic.
This enables parents to maintain or restore bonds with their children. We know children of incarcerated parents are 7 times more likely to become involved in the system. This has to stop. The Messages Project creates an opportunity for parents to communicate the lessons they learned from their mistakes. This can also motivate parents to better themselves and to not return to lives of crime.
The project has mailed over 4,000 videos. They also collect used books to forward to the children of incarcerated parents. Often times, the "message" is the first significant gift children receive from their incarcerated parents.
The Messages Project is now in Nebraska where they partner with Christian Heritage. Soon they will begin a pilot in New Jersey. I wish other people would speak up to get the project accepted in their states.
We have to help insure the children of incarcerated parents know they are loved! It's bad enough they are silent victims of their parents' mistakes.
One last thing. Carolyn is looking for stories from people who at some point in time may have had a parent undergo incarceration. She wants to know what it is like for them. These stories will be posted on The Message Project website, and possibly on this blog. Names will only be included if written permission is expressed when the stories are submitted.
Supaman Tion Terrell