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 the June Parenting From Afar class at the jail.
Summer may slow down for some, but not for us. June was as busy as always. For this month’s blog, I thought I would focus on just one activity and some of the new volunteers who have come forward to help us. Without them, we would never be able to do the things we do.
June Sharing Fair
In June we had one of our six Sharing Fairs for the year. We always set up right outside visitation at the jail and give away all kinds of items including diapers, hygiene supplies, children’s clothing, books and more.
This time we added some great new items. The fabulous Gretta Benson thought that balloon animals would be a real treat for the children who were visiting. She took on the task of learning how to make them.
Thanks to a new volunteer, Hunter, Gretta did not have to work very hard. This young man, a boy scout and all around caring person, asked her to teach him-and she did. For the whole day at the Detention Center Hunter, accompanied by his Mom, made balloon animals for every child who wanted one. He gave out bottles of water, entertained the children, and even took a young man anxious about his visit with his Dad under his wing and got the child’s mind off his worries.
In addition, thanks to Cindy Smith and her Brunswick Girl Scout Troop, we had new items to give out- hand tied pillows, made to match our signature fleece blankets. The pillows flew off the table. I only wish I could recreate the look on children’s faces when they picked out the one for them to keep. Designed with faces of puppies on them, one can only imagine what a treat they were for each child.
Lastly, we continue to have a wonderful collaboration with the Delaplaine Center. Cindy Yount, the new Community Outreach Coordinator, came to the fair with bags filled with art supplies, all donated by the Delaplaine. The excitement on the faces of preteens and teenagers as we gave them an art bag of their own was priceless. Lots of smiles!
As always, the Sharing Fair only happens by having many people volunteer with us. However, key to the execution of a great event is the organization that takes place behind the scenes. Gretta Benson and Sue Guissinger work tirelessly to organize all children’s activities for COIPP, and the wonderful Pat Einhorn who calmly and patiently sets up, spends the day interacting with families, and gets everything back to the Storage Unit at the end of the day, has taken ownership of each Sharing Fair.
We love our Sharing Fairs and the resources we give out change with the seasons. If you really want to know what the work of COIPP is all about, think about joining us at a future one. I promise you will return for more.
Of course, we continued to have all of our regular events. The children’s activity for June was bowling, and we had 18 children and their caregivers participate. That is always a lively, fun afternoon. Many of our families have financial struggles when their loved ones go to jail, and these activities, like all of our events, are free and include lunch. The caregivers and the children adore them.
Coffee with COIPP
Our Coffee with COIPP sessions keep going on Fridays. In June we scheduled everything from the making of water color cards to personality tests for participants.
Summer Serve with the United Way
In addition, we continued to have lots of volunteers offer us their services. One of our favorite summer activities is doing Summer Serve with the United Way. Three times during the Summer three different groups of teens who are a part of the Summer Serve Camp get to tour the jail and then make blankets for COIPP.
The first session was held in June-and it was great. Being able to tour the jail always brings on reflections, surprises and more for the young participants. This first group was very mature and joined in with great enthusiasm when it was time to make the blankets and review some of the books we give out to the children. I am certain that their Summer Serve activity is one that they will never forget. Thanks to Pat Einhorn and Shirley White for helping with the blankets and in the future to Peggy Bishop who will be at the other two Summer Serve programs.
Parenting from Afar
The Parenting from Afar work continues to flourish. Cathy Anderson and I continue to get rave reviews for the women in our parenting class, and Brandon and Andrew could not receive higher marks on their end of session evaluations for the men. Cindy and I did the June Reconnecting class together, and once again it was very well received. I continue to do workshops in the community; this month I worked with women who were connected to me through the Lincoln Elementary school Judy Center. Dates are already in the books for a Fall workshop with Head Start.
In addition, there have been countless meetings with those who want to know more about COIPP. This includes a high school intern and her mentor, Mirabelle and Amy, who want to help us with marketing for the United Way, Jan Elizabeth Hummer who is involved with Social Justice and wants to collaborate in the future, and representatives from other community groups throughout Frederick.
We also continue to pursue new grants, especially an upcoming one through The Community Foundation. Thanks to Norine Haas who has joined us in this pursuit.
We also have filed end of year reports for the Frederick Women’s Giving Circle’s last year grant, and we are in the middle of completing the Frederick County Non-profit Grant final report.
2019 Unity Campaign
I do want to use this opportunity to let everyone know that the Unity Campaign, organized by United Way, is now underway. Please think about making a donation. For every dollar we raise, we get partial matching money. This is the biggest fundraiser for us of the year.
Here is a link to our page if you wish to make a donation: https://app.mobilecause.com/vf/UnityFrederick/team/COIPP.
You can also text UnityFrederick43 to 71777 to donate.
We need your help so that we can continue to do this important and meaningful work! If you would like to organize your own fundraiser for this event, please get in touch- Scher12345@comcast.net. We are also looking for sponsors for our upcoming December auction.
May you all have a wonderful summer.
Thank you for helping us foster strong, resilient, hopeful children!