Gifts Beyond the GatesProject led by Opportunities People's Justice Leaders
About the project.
Christmas is known as the most wonderful time of the year. However, for some children in Appalachian Ohio it may seem grim due to their parents being incarcerated. Gifts Beyond the Gates is a program for children with incarcerated parents.
The main focus is men and women with high security levels that would not typically have access to this resource for their families. It will allow a parent to give their child one possible wish this holiday season. As well as a full family Christmas dinner from mom, dad, husband or wife, to give them a sense of security that they were an asset instead of a burden during this holiday season.
In The United States there are 2.4 million people incarcerated and 42% of those people are African American. In Ohio 50,000 people are incarcerated. 30,000 of them are African American. OPJL wants to help this population of men and women curb the cost of Christmas and build those bridges between families to keep them connected or make the connection. Each participant will attend 2 day advocacy and resource training to learn what resources are available to them and their families such as mental health and counseling, support groups and reentry services. This training will be facilitated by experts from the Juvenile Division, Jail /Bail Process, Pre-trial, Prison Entry, Re-Entry, and Mental Health. Each phase of the process to educate families on the process of incarceration before and after. In order to build to stronger communities, we have to introduce the resources that they need to open doors to healthy mental health and relationships with their support system, while creating a base of advocates across the state.
Last year in 2020 OPJLs was able to service 75 children, 14 families all across Ohio. Each child received two outfits, a pair of shoes and an item from their wish list with a stocking stuffed with goodies. The caretaker received a stocking and a gift card as well as a full meal for Christmas Dinner. Including the turkey and all the sides with dessert, along with a paid video visit or videogram from their incarcerated parents to their child to be able to watch them open gifts as they arrived at their home.
Funding will support outreach and programming to additional families.
FAO staff comments.
This effort seeks to connect children and caregivers with incarcerated parents in high security facilities. This programming provides children a connection to their parent that they might not otherwise have, allowing them to feel loved and supported. This connection fosters strong families and support systems, increasing resiliency for both youth and adults.
Make a donation.
To make an online donation to this project, please use the form below. For larger gifts or to donate in other ways (e.g. stock transfer, IRA transfer, or a gift through a donor advised fund), please visit appalachianohio.org/create/ways-to-give.