October 24, 2014

Children’s Literacy Foundation supports Kids A Part

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:04 am by Lund

Lund is very happy to announce that the Kids A Part program has been awarded a grant from the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF) to support programming and provides materials to help connect inmates at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility (CRCF), their children and families through books and storytelling. This support from CLiF will greatly increase inmates’ access to books that they can share with their children and provide opportunities to learn about the importance of reading with children and the art of storytelling.  80% of the women at CRCF are mothers and so this program will have a huge impact on children all across the state.

The grant will provide the following:

1.  Four literacy seminars for inmates – These sessions, presented by a CLiF presenter, will discuss the importance of reading to children and will include tips on how to share books and stories with children even if the inmate is not a strong reader.  Every inmate will be able to take two new books from this seminar to give to children in their lives.

2.  A library of new books for the visiting room – CLiF will donate $2000 of new books to create a library in the visiting room at the facility where there are currently no books to speak of.  The Kids A Part space is fully stocked with books but having the books in the regular visiting room will allow for further opportunities for moms to read with their children during every visit.

3.  Two storytelling presentations for inmates and their children – CLiF will send a professional story teller to give a fun, interactive story telling sessions to inmates and their children and families.  Children will be able to take home two new books after this session.

4.  New books for children of inmates – CLiF will provides hundreds of new books to be distributed to children visiting their moms.

5.  Support for the Storybook Program – CLiF will provide books and volunteers to help inmates make recordings of themselves reading books that they can then send along with the book to their children.   Kids A Part Parenting Program Coordinator Jess Kell reports that this will allow for the Storybook program to take place two or three times a month instead of once as it currently does.  It will also triple the amount of books available to moms participating in this program.

There is a dominant theme in all these details – get books into the hands of children and help their parents, family members and caregivers to enjoy the books with them.  Participating in this program will dramatically increase the number of books inside the correctional facility and ensure that moms know the many different ways they can use them to connect with their children.  ““Reading together during visits,  attending workshops and then choosing books to send home, or recording a book for your child to listen to at home are all such wonderful ways for incarcerated parents to stay connected with their children! Kids-A-Part is very thankful  to have received this grant from CLiF, which will provide the moms at CRCF with many opportunities to foster their children’s love of reading throughout this coming year,” says Jess Kell.

The Kids-A-Part visiting room at CRCF features bookshelves and cosy places to read.

The Kids-A-Part visiting room at CRCF features bookshelves and cosy places to read.

Reading is a simple, normal activity that provides a direct connection between mother and child.  “Parenting can be difficult enough under normal circumstances.  Parenting from behind bars is particularly challenging.  Sharing books and stories can really make a difference to families with an incarcerated parent.” Duncan McDougall from CLiF  One in every 28 children nationwide has an incarcerated parent (that’s the equivalent of one in every classroom) and these kids are often the almost invisible but blameless victims of their parents’ crimes.  Reinforcing the important connection between parents and children gives these children the strength to know that they still have a mom or dad who matters in their lives and cares about them even when they cannot be together.

Thank you to the Children’s Literacy Foundation and all its supporters for helping us to bring the joy of reading together to moms and kids.

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