| Oct 17, 2017
The 2018 GSBB Troop
By T. Cassatt | Project Advocate
GSBB Anniversary celebration in MCIW
Dear Friends of Girl Scouts Beyond Bars,
The relevance of the 25th anniversary of the Maryland Girl Scouts Beyond Bars Program lies in the message that it sends the daughters. This 25 years of consistency says to each girl “We will be there for you,” We will not disappoint.” These important messages give these girls the strength to walk through metal detectors and security gates just to see their mother. It helps them endure the sound of metal doors locking shut behind them as they travel down each hallway. It gives them hope that they can keep a relationship with their mom.
Approximately 2.3 million children, or roughly one child out of every 30, currently has a parent in state or federal prison. And GSBB has touched 400 of these young lives. Research shows that without the support of programs like GSBB, these children generally do not fare well. They must cope with the stigma of parental involvement in the criminal justice system, the loss of a parent and the isolation that comes with coping with these issues in silence. GSBB believes it is important to bring these children out of the shadows and give them the support they need.
While our goal is to provide the best experience for girls, we know that investing in meeting the needs of these moms, will ultimately yield a return for their daughters. GSBB’s influence on inmates’ lives extends beyond good parenting skills offered during bi-weekly visits. GSBB also increases an inmates chances of successfully re-entering the community. For example, GSBB has a positive impact on visitation. Inmates who receive visits during their incarceration have a lower recidivism rate when they return to the community than do inmates who do not receive visits. Research over many years has shown that inmates who maintain family connections during their incarceration have a higher likelihood of successfully reentering the community. In addition, GSBB has established a new partnership with a non-profit organization that provides coding skills in modules appropriate to participants' learning styles and baseline skill levels. Moms are better prepared to re-enter the community and the workforce upon release.
During 2017 - our 25th year of thoughtful, intensive programming for girls and moms- GSCM was permitted to hold a resource fair and mother-daughter celebration at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women. In an effort to honor this milestone year, mothers, daughters, alum and founders all shared in the joy and strength created by this sisterhood at a special Anniversary event. A resource panel was assembled, to assist the current inmates in accessing needed support to aid in their re-entry. This unique event was made possible by officials who graciously allowed these women and daughters to share the experience that binds them at the institution that housed their sleep-overs, troop meetings and bonding time.
The impact that Girl Scouts Beyond Bars on one child, one family, one community cannot be understated. Success for participants demands long term commitment. We hope you will help us continue our ability to be with these moms and daughters today and into the future. Attachments: