Blog April, 2020

Hey Guys. I just wanted to personally thank you all for helping out with money on our commissary to go towards staying in touch with our families! With our programs and visits, to be able to make a few more calls to my loved ones means a lot. I know your act of kindness lifted my spirit as well as the other ladies here. Thank you for keeping all of us in your thoughts during these difficult times.

Woman in the Frederick County Detention Center upon receiving
money for the telephone

Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership (COIPP), along with you, is going through unexpected times. Due to the pandemic, there are no jail visitations, or face to face activities with the families we serve. Therefore, we have had to replace our previous strategies with new ones for the time being. We want to share some of these new strategies. Our entire COIPP Board is working hard to make a difference in the lives of children impacted by incarceration even now. Below we have highlighted just some of our new activities. 

•   Telephone Call Support– COIPP has put $20 on the commissary accounts of those who are in jail, and who recently took our parenting classes. We sent each person postcards letting them know that the money was specifically for making phone calls to help them stay connected with their children. We have already received postcards of ‘thanks’ from several of the those we have helped.

•   Read Alouds–  COIPP sends a daily ‘read aloud’ to the children.  Shari wears a funny hat and carries the same puppet so that there is consistency for the children.  The stories are also being shared with Head Start, City Youth Matrix, The Frederick County Housing Authority, other groups and many individuals. To date, over 30 stories have been taped and sent to our children. 

•    Hygiene Supply Give Away- COIPP filled handmade pillow cases with hygiene supplies and delivered them curbside. They were accompanied by a grocery gift card. The needs are huge- and the appreciation upon receipt was great. Due to popular demand, we just completed our second hygiene supply giveaway. This time we included face masks, as well as the food gift card, diapers when needed, and other items children would enjoy. Both events were great successes.   

•   Staying Connected Activity Books- COIPP, through our collaboration with the Mental Health Association (MHA), has a grant called Families impacted By Incarceration (FIIP). We worked to develop booklets with activities that can assist those in jail and their children to stay connected when there are no visitations. We delivered the booklets to the Frederick Detention Center (FCADC) and also mailed them out to the caregivers and gave them out at our Hygiene Supply Give Away. We have had many additional booklet requests, including one from a jail counselor in St. Louis and even a request from Croatia

•   Books/Game Bundles– COIPP, also through our FIIP grant, has been able to mail out 51 Books/Board Game Bundle to families of those who recently took our parenting classes at the jail, caregivers who attended our workshops, or caregivers who attended our Respite meetings. We worked in collaboration with Curious Iguana Book Store and Dancing Bear Toy Store, to make sure that we chose high quality resources for families. COIPP just learned that we received a grant that will allow us to continue this effort by sending a box of resources called The World Around Us to these and even more COIPP families.

•   Video Tips For Caregivers- On both our FIIP and COIPP facebook pages, we are posting weekly ‘tips’ that are meant to encourage and assist caregivers as they find themselves at home with their children. A variety of topics are being covered, but the goal is always to be the ‘cheerleader’ of the caregiver who may be feeling stress and exhaustion during these difficult times. 

•   Extra Postcards-  Thanks to a postcard from one of the women in the local Detention Center, we realized that there’s a need for pre-stamped postcards. This will help the men and women stay connected with their children. We were able to deliver many of them to the jail so that everyone who recently was in our parenting classes gets postcards to assist them in their connection process. 

•   Help as needed- COIPP continues to supply gift cards, resources, information on receiving emergency assistance, and more as families share their needs.

We continue to write grants, look into fund raising opportunities, plan for a new data collection system, take virtual classes on different aspects of being a non-profit and more. These are difficult times, and they have led us down some new paths.

Please take care, stay healthy, and remain in touch.

Shari Ostrow Scher
Executive Director
Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership (COIPP)
240 240 578 5662 

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