Parenting From Afar Class Updates

Our Parenting From Afar Parenting classes continued to thrive in April, even though there were many lockdowns throughout the April month. The women continued to celebrate one another and their children. We really enjoy  the last evening the most, the time the women get to go ‘shopping’ for children’s books while others make water color cards for each child.

Cathy and Shari go every Wednesday night, regardless of the weather, for the women are really look forward to this opportunity. All through the month, former class participants continued to return just to take part in the classes. Thanks to our MHA collaboration and a Maryland Governor’s Grant, supported by our Frederick Local Management Board, Cathy, Shari, Cindi and Marisel meet every Monday night to write and edit our ‘home grown’ Parenting From Afar Curriculum. 

What an honor it has been to have national expert Ann Adelist- Estrin come to Frederick several times to work with COIPP and MHA personnel. This was Ann’s second time just with us, but some of us have also heard her many times in the state and at national and international conferences. Ann will be returning in July, will be visiting our Parenting From Afar class at FCADC, and will be reviewing our curriculum. April’s meeting was filled with positives as well as areas for growth. Our Monday night curriculum meetings may never end. 

April Updates

National Conference Attendance

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. 

Children’s Activities

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. 

Workshops

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. 

Crisis Committee

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.

Grant Award 

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 

Coffee With COIPP

Great addition to COIPP. Every Friday afternoon we have Coffee With COIPP, meetings for those who may have just gotten out of jail. We talk about parenting and personal situations that the group brings up, learn about issues such as Adverse Childhood Experiences, stress and depression, and always end with a giveaway. The group asked for weekly meetings and we are happy to oblige.