And the Beat Goes On

The parenting class offered at FCADC is amazing. It helps me put in perspective about how to teach my children, and to be a better, more understanding mother. It also helps me, by teaching me ways to communicate not only with my son, but with the caregiver who is caring for my children.

- a participant in Parenting from Afar at the Frederick Detention Center, June 2019

So much happened last month, it is difficult to pick out the most exciting events. Below are some of the best memories.

Workshops

Workshops for Caregivers are a large part of what we do and September was no different. In September I had the chance to try out a new Workshop, Building Resilience in Children. I designed this workshop in answer to a request from the wonderful Ann Ryan, Director of the Housing Authority. The workshop included information on Adverse Children’s Experiences (ACEs), looking into one’s own past and the effect of trauma, clues for knowing if a child is suffering from trauma induced behaviors, and, most important of all, what positive things to do if one sees a child showing these traits.

Thanks to the Dancing Bear Toy Store and the Curious Iguana Book Store, each resource given away was right on target. The giveaways included everything from board games for building Executive Functioning Skills, robot balance toys to assist a child in taking risks, and art books and erasable markers for encouraging creativity. Every one of the many participants received a collection of award winning children’s books that are perfect for encouraging resilience., The workshop could not have been better received. In fact, several of the participants asked when we could meet again. In October i will do this workshop for Head Start and afterwards work with our curriculum team to develop it into a ‘Trainer of Trainers Model’ so that any instructor can do it.

Fundraising

The Unity Campaign was in full swing this month and took much of our attention. The fabulous Board members at COIPP all took it upon themselves to have fundraisers of many different types. These included: an ice cream social, an exercise Bangathon, a wine tasting, an evening of dining at La Paz, a sale of bed sheets, a wine and cheese evening, a 50-50 at the Frederick Ski Club— and more and more and more. We are delighted to report that for all of our great effort we raised about $30,000, won an extra $1,000 for having the most donors, and this is without the partial match of money the campaign itself offers. I cannot believe the generosity of all of our friends- and the hard work of the COIPP Board. Our goal had been $20,000, but we went way over our goal thanks to the participation of everyone. Cannot wait to see how this helps next year’s budget.

I would be remiss not to mention the donations from different churches and foundations around town. Extra thanks goes to the Loats Foundation that gave us $1,000 to use for our resources and activities. The Church of the Transformation in Braddock Heights also deserves a great big thank you.They had given us a large donation for the Unity Campaign, but the night of the Frederick Chorale event brought in another $800 due to the generosity of those attending the concert. We are always amazed- and thankful!

Pen Pals

One thing that most folks don’t know is that COIPP continues to work with individuals from the Parenting From Afar Class, even when the participant moves on. I am a pen pal to two of the women who are now in Jessup, and I meet others over lunch or coffee who are now released. it is always interesting and sometimes intense to hear how people are doing, the difficulties in reconnecting to one’s children, and the hardships that often follow incarceration. However, the one thing I can see would make a difference to those who go on to prison are parenting classes. Each of the women I have communicated with wish they had our classes whenever they move on.

International Sharing

In August Cindi Diamondstone and I went to the second International Conference for children with an incarcerated parent (INCCIP) held in Huddersfield, England. I have already been asked to send a copy of our COIPP written Parenting From Afar curriculum to the participant from the Czech Republic, help a Washington, DC non-profit put together a group of Frederick caregivers so that they could get feedback on some books they have written for children and caregivers, and have been asked to meet with a conference participant from Scotland when she comes to America in December. The excitement of meeting those doing the work, but doing them in different cultures with varying levels of support, is exciting to witness.

Community Sharing

Every month brings about sharing the work of COIPP. This month was no different. i got the chance to speak at the Graceham Moravian Church in Thurmont and attend two of their Sunday services. I was the keynote speaker at the Baltimore Grandparents Day Conference held by the Baltimore City Health Department Division of Aging and Caring Services. Cindi Diamondstone and I shared an information table at the FCPS meeting on Homeless Youth. I even got to present at the Frederick 2019 Summit of Intersections Conference that was jointly sponsored by the Mental Health Association, Wells House and Hartley House. Sally Smith spoke at the Church of the Transformation and Cathy Anderson and I shared COIPP’s work at the non profit tent at the County Fair.

Meeting the Need

As always, the phone calls keep coming, Today I went to our storage unit and picked up children’s books that hopefully will ease the pain of a parent’s incarceration for three different families. Another parent called to share that she needs help with Winter clothing for her child. Another call was from an aunt worried about her nephew and his reaction to his Dad going away to jail for a number of years. This work is as important as any other we continue to do.

Please save some important dates:

Saturday, October 26- Noon-1:15- Bowling at Terrace Lanes for children and caregivers.

Sunday, October 27- 8:30-1:00- Sharing Fair at the Frederick County Adult Detention Center

Tuesday, December 3- 5:00-7:30- Silent Auction at McClintock Distillery