PRISON MINISTRY TIMES
April 8, 2016 — Vancouver, Washington
Another successful collaboration between Washington Department of Corrections and Families on the Outside!
Families on the Outside is a non-profit faith based organization in Clark County Washington that provides support services, education, resources and fun-filled activities for families impacted by incarceration. Caroline M., Family Services Specialist with Department of Corrections (DOC), has been partnering with them for many of their Family Events for five years now.
On Friday April 8, fifty children with an incarcerated parent were sponsored by Families on the Outside to participate in the Klineline Fishing Derby. This year, DOC paid the children’s registration fees through funds allocated by the Offender Betterment Fund. The children each received a fishing rod, t-shirt, and the opportunity to catch two trout. Every hour, prizes were given to kids, for the smallest fish and the three largest caught. There was also a random drawing each hour for bicycles and helmets for one child ages 5-9 and one for ages 10-14.
This year was especially rewarding because ten DOC staff volunteered to directly assist the kids with their fishing and the other activities at the event.
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CO Brian from the Longview Field Office said, “I enjoyed participating in the event! It was fun spending some time with H.A. and interacting with him in a positive way. The thing I noticed the most is that H.A. and other kids are victims themselves. H.A. misses out on having his father around and having a positive role model in his life due to his father’s circumstances. You could tell that he enjoyed having positive interaction with an adult male figure and I really enjoyed being able to provide that to him in the time we were there.” H.A.’s grandmother, who is raising him while her son is incarcerated said, “I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. H.A. really had a great time with DOC Officer Brian before, during, and after fishing.”
CCO Molly of Vancouver said, “This event was a huge success! I loved being in the community and hanging out with such great kids. The little girl that I was paired with had never fished before and absolutely loved the suspense of fishing! She was very eager to catch her two fish. And she did just that! Families on the Outside is a wonderful organization. I look forward to the events coming up and would love to help in any way that I can.”
“Kudo’s to you, Caroline, for the work you do. I had a good time with my two kids, 13 year old N. and 5 years old L. He caught his two fish rather quickly. She never did hook one although she showed the patience of Job for someone so young,” from CCO Mark of Vancouver.
Another grandmother: “What a great day to catch a fish. Thank you to Families on the Outside organization and DOC for their generous hearts at keeping families connected. We had a great time.”
Sidney Carter, Founder and President of Families on the Outside:
“One of the important things about having DOC staff assist the kids is to help them change their negative impressions of DOC and law enforcement due to what they may have seen or been told by their parents that are in the criminal justice system. Those negative attitudes towards authority can have disastrous consequences.” Carter also said, “Our hope is to break the cycle of intergenerational incarceration by building stronger and healthier families and communities.”
Sid sends his appreciation to the following DOC staff who volunteered:
Caroline M., Family Services Specialist
Chris L., Community Corrections Officer (CCO) Longview
Steven M., CCO, Vancouver
Mark M., CCO, Vancouver
Kendle S., CCO, Vancouver
Jennifer M., CCO, Woodland
Brian C., Correctional Officer (CO) Longview
Molly S., CCO, Vancouver
Michael S., CCO, Vancouver
Steven N., CCO, Vancouver,
Angela B., Office Assistant 3 (OA3), Longview.
— Story by Caroline M., Washington Department of Corrections, Vancouver, Washington
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