Sacramento – Friends Care, a nonprofit organization, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), and members of the judiciary hosted a first-of-its-kind conference for children of incarcerated parents, “My Future Starts with Me,” at the Radisson Hotel in Sacramento on Saturday, October 2, 2010.
“CDCR cares about these kids,” said Debra Herndon, Associate Director of CDCR’s Female Offender Programs and Services. “We received monetary donations from inmates at the California Institution for Women, Valley State Prison for Women, Central California Women’s Facility, and Kern Valley State Prison to help with this event.
The goal being to give young people, between 12 and 16 years of age, whose parents are in prison or jail, the help they need to lead a bright and positive future free of crimes and drugs,” Herndon added.
Children attended from Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Yolo counties.
“This all started with a dream to reach out a hand to children whose parents are incarcerated so they can pursue their dreams,” said Dorothy Montgomery, Executive Director of Friends Care. “Because of the support Friends Care has received from CDCR, the judiciary, law enforcement and other community leaders, the dream became reality.”
Workshops included: “Vision, Hope and Success,” a discussion with San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge William Murray and Sacramento Superior Court Judge Troy Nunley; “Overcoming Adversity,” an interactive exchange with Eric Nicholls, Sacramento County Office of Education, Sgt. Mike Castaneda of the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department and young people from Peacekeeper Girls in Transition from San Joaquin County. But the workshop that seemed to drive the point home was “Choices have Consequences,” led by Folsom State Prison Warden Rick Hill. Warden Hill made arrangements for some of his inmates to talk with the kids via live closed circut television. The inmates talked about the mistakes they wish they never made, and their lives in prison.
The kids appreciated and enjoyed meeting and being with each other, and being able to share what they were going through.
Friends Care has been working with children of incarcerated parents for more than 22 years. For more information visit: http://www.friends-care.com/3201.html