We were really proud to present at the first National Conference on children with an incarcerated parent. Put together by Arizona State University, it had researchers and practitioners in attendance. Shari, our Executive Director, presented two sessions, one being an overview of COIPP and a second being about Coffee With COIPP, our newest initiative that serves those recently released. In addition to Shari, our co-presidents, Cindi and Donna, and our corresponding secretary, Shirley, were all in attendance. We came back filled with new ideas.
Our children’s activities are off to a great, new beginning. We now have bowling parties planned for the fourth Saturday of every month. We attracted a number of participants our first month, and can see expansion in the future. Activities are always free, include refreshments, and are put together just for fun. Thanks to Gretta and Sue, two extraordinary COIPP board members, the children and caregivers will have a growing list of fun activities.
A two part workshop was held at the Mental Health Association. Very well attended, Shari, our Executive Director, offered strategies and resources to help caregivers work with their children when there are negative feelings, especially those of anger. A third session is being done by MHA on self care for caregivers themselves. The evaluations were all in the excellent range and we look forward to continuing the great MHA-COIPP partnership.
The Crisis Committee has been overwhelmingly busy. Needs from those recently released from jail to caregivers who are having a difficult time supplying groceries and clothes for the kids have filled our plate. Vanessa and Theresa, two of our Board members, have been meeting with and talking to those who reach out to us for help. So far we have been able to meet all needs.
Great news from the Frederick County Government. Through a competitive process, we were awarded a $14,500 grant to assist us in our Coffee With COIPP initiative. We will be able to add transportation, childcare and writing of a curriculum for these sessions. Larissa, Sally, Patty and Shari have taken the leadership, and we are all thrilled to see where this part of our journey takes us. Thanks goes to Pat for taking the lead on this grant application