“To succumb to the enormity of the problem is to fail the one.” ~ SHE Rescue Home
Yesterday, I had the privilege of sharing the story of Children of Inmates (COI) at the Florida Department of Children and Families’ 2015 Child Protection Summit in Orlando, Florida. Jada Hunter and I could barely believe that 200+ people had registered to attend our session. When COI began eight years ago, many people in the child welfare field told our team that it was going to be impossible to positively impact the lives of children with an incarcerated parent. Their needs were too complex.
We started anyway with one Florida Correctional facility. Since 2007, COI has served 2,500+ children in the State of Florida who have at least one incarcerated parent. We have logged over 5,000 child visits inside Florida Correctional Facilities. We now conduct bonding visits at twenty different Florida Correctional Facilities. Before entering our program, 90% of the children had not seen their incarcerated parent in three or more years. Some of these kids who began participating in COI eight years ago are still part of our “family”. In addition, we also shared how our program initiatives have expanded. Our new initiative “Babies and Brains” is educating incarcerated dads about brain science and how trauma negatively affects their young children’s brain development.
“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” ~ Mother Teresa
As we answered audience questions, I remembered the children who started school for the first time on September 2, 2015 at Light of Future School #3 in rural Kratie Province, Cambodia. A few weeks ago our Cambodia 2015 Mission Team provided 160 kids with their Year One curriculum, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and school supplies. For the first few months, the classes are meeting in homes and building offered by the villagers. The student tables were made with local wood by local carpenters.
When International Literacy Day is celebrated next year on September 8, 2016, 160 children will no longer be illiterate. They will be readers.
Small beginnings can be gamechangers.
“If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.” ~ Napoleon Hill