Incarcerated parents

A Day in the Life of COIPP

Ever wonder what our actual day to day work is about? Since the beginning of June, we have:

  • Given out gift cards to caregivers who needed basic supplies;                                                     
  • Sent resources to women who contacted us from across the nation who needed to know more about child development and the effect of parent incarceration;                                                   
  • Met with a woman who was just released from the Detention Center, attended our parenting classes while an inmate, and wants to now volunteer with us;                                                      
  • Held a resource fair, one of three for the year, at the Frederick County Detention Center;
  • Completed an old group and started a new one on Parenting for female inmates at the jail;  
  • Began to plan for the purchases of books for children with an incarcerated parent who have caregivers attending our workshops, thanks in part to the receipt of a grant from the United Way; 
  • Accepted a check from the Frederick Women's Giving Circle and met with FCC scholarship and community service division who put together the scholarship applications we offer to caregivers;
  • Had female inmates create water color paintings for the Lend A Hand fundraiser we are having at The Muse in downtown Frederick;                                                                                                
  • Began looking for and speaking with sponsors for the Unity Campaign fundraiser that is just beginning and will take off in mid September;                                                                              
  • Asked for and received stuffed animals and handmade blankets for children;                            
  • Held a Bowling/Pizza party for children and caregivers. 

 

This is only a partial list and the month is barely half over. The work never stops, we are a completely volunteer organization--but we are empowered by our mission and our passion.

We are so happy to help so many!

At a recent child/caregiver bowling and pizza event the following testimonials were shared with us:

The reason why we're bowling is to let loose of sadness. - Cait, age 8

I like how this was neat and organized and you provided us with food. It was a very fun day.-Samara, age 13

The environment for the children was great. The had a blast. The children could let loose.-Shantelle, Mom 

All I ever wanted was to be a better Mother than the one I got.  Briefly I am the product of a ‘make love, not war’ party on November 1969 at Frostburg.  She was on the pill and an unwanted child in 1970 was the last thing wanted by anyone but my grandfather (God bless his sweet heart). I waited till I was 28 to have children so that I was more mature. Having taken absolutely every parenting class I could (about 5) and regardless of my drug addiction/mental illness I believe myself to be a loving, caring, honest, realistic, protective Momma. Unfortunately, my coping skills have been limited and mostly illegal, but never abusive. Although not being there is certainly neglect, I loved, planned, and wanted all three of my precious children.  Without these parenting classes, I would have not one clue what I was or am doing. I will take any and all classes in this jail or any other facility has to offer so as to guide my children and any other people God blesses me with.  This couldn’t be more important.   How many of us have been misguided and/or abused before we put some real effort into parenting classes and mental health?

-Anonymous (Requested to keep name private).

May Update!

Our first Resource Fair held during Women's Visitation at the Frederick County Detention Center took place on Saturday, May 7, and it was a great success. The visitors were so grateful for everything we shared- Resource Bags and handmade blankets for children, hygiene supplies for families, stuffed animals for little ones, and books, books, books. Many recipients wanted to talk, share their stories, and tell us how they hoped to pay forward our kindness. We were touched- and now know we are going to add a yearly resource fair during women visitations to our present list of fairs.

When we started over 14 years ago, we never thought we would grow as we have. Recently we decided to rent a storage unit to hold all of the resources we have for families.  Interestingly, we have almost outgrown our new large space.  We now have enough books, blankets, stuffed animals and resource bags to serve many children and caregivers. 

We get more and more interest in our work.  Recently, Shari Scher was asked by two Boston College Professors to write an essay for their book, Parental Incarceration: Personal Accounts and Developmental Impact.  Hot off the press, it has 30 essays and will be used in classrooms across the nation that are dealing with issues of justice.  Who ever thought COIPP would be part of a publication!

This year's Cupcake Run was a huge success.  Held in April, we had donors and supporters from all over.  We raised $1250 front he run- and a great time was had by all. Sadly, this was the last year the Cupcake Run will take place, but we are forever grateful for the money raised. We received a check for $1250 and we had $1600 in sponsorships. We exist thanks to grants, donations and the kindness of others; thank you to everyone who helped make this a beneficial fundraiser

April Update!

It's time for our Resource Fairs at the Frederick County Adult Detention Center! This is the time when we give out bags filled with resources for children. We also give awayhandmade blankets, books, have face painting, do nails and more surprises! Please note the following dates if you would like to participate and be apart of COIPP! We would love to have your help! 

Saturday, May 7- This is our first Mothers Day weekend fair. We will be at female visitation from 10-3:30.

Sunday, May 22- This is the time for our yearly Spring Resource Fair during Men's visitation. We will be there for all visitors from 10-3:30.

Sunday, June 12- We will be having a Bowling and Pizza party at Terrace Lanes, across from Frederick High School. This free event will take place between 11-1:00. To reserve a spot call 240 578 5662.

Last week I spoke at the Lions Clubs of Thurmont and Emmitsburg. There were about 80 people there learning about COIPP. Thanks Lions for hosting us.

The Cupcake Run was a huge success. Thank you to all our volunteers who came out to help. It did take a village. 

COIPP is proud to be a part of a new program at the Adult Detention Center. We have long been offering Parenting Classes every Wednesday evening. Now we are limiting our sessions to 8-10 women for an eight week period. If they successfully complete the sessions, they will get 5 days off their time. These interactive sessions discuss topics such as discipline, autonomy, street and more. The women are so motivated. It's an honor to work together every Wednesday night.

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

So many things have happened for COIPP during the holiday season! This year's Silent Auction was a great success. We made over $8,250, and donations continue to come in. This is even more than last year. We thank everyone who donated items, attended the event, or sent us donations. We are already planning for next year and will publicize a "save the Date" as soon as we know when it is. Thank you, thank you, thank you! It truly did 'take the village.' 

Thanks to a Middletown, Md. man who made a generous donation to honor Laura Duncan, a Defense Attorney, and a donation from an wonderful, old friend, COIPP has $600 more in the bank.  We cannot wait to increase our offerings to families. 

Thank you Doug Zaruba, of Doug Zaruba's Jewelry. The beautiful feather necklace he designed for COIPP has brought in $1200 to our non-profit, for he donates half of the cost for each one sold right back to us.  Amazing!  If you have not been by his store at 35 North Market Street you are missing an opportunity to see exquisite, artistic, one of a kind jewelry. We just love to stop by!

Looking forward to next week when we will meet with a Mom who is struggling with the incarceration of a husband.  The good news is that we will be able to meet with her and chat, give her books that hopefully will help her children through this time, and recommend resources that may help her and the kids out. We are hoping that her kids will join us in some weekend fun activities during the new school year. It is great to have some ways to help this Mom out.  

We are always looking for new ideas.  If you have some thoughts on things we can do for the children, or how we can best reach out to this population, we would love to hear your thoughts.  Just message us and let us know your thinking. We are looking forward to growing in the new year.

Want to volunteer?  As we grow in what we do we need all hands on deck.  Let us know if you would like to be a part of COIPP!