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Breaking the legacy

All kids share the need to feel loved and connected to their parents. To reach their potential, kids must believe in themselves, in their value, in their right to dream and their ability to achieve. Left unsupported, children with a parent in prison may feel none of these things. That’s when they fall through the cracks.

We can change that by developing programs that provide counselling, educational support and create a bridge between children and their incarcerated parents. EFry, as part of the JustKids initiative, has introduced a number of such programs in B.C.’s Lower Mainland:

The Storybook Program: Connects incarcerated parents and their children through the power of reading. Parents are recorded reading a story. The book and recording are then delivered to their child, so they can experience the comfort of their parent’s voice any time.

Summer Camp: In 2010, EFry launched week-long summer camps for kids ages six to nine, with a parent involved in the justice system. Operated by professional counselors, the camps offer kids a chance to be just like everyone else, learn coping skills and enjoy popular social outings that let them just be kids. These camps are now offered annually during July and August.

Saturday Club: Based on the popularity of the summer camps, EFry extended the program to Saturdays during the rest of the year, providing kids a safe, supported place to enjoy weekend activities.

While extremely successful, these programs are a small step in the journey to supporting JustKids and breaking the cycle of crime. There is much more to be done.