On Nov. 7 the Utah Department of Corrections held what we hope is a growing and ongoing initiative to bring inmates and their families together in new ways to promote healing and hope, communication and caring — especially for those inmates preparing to return to the community.
Twenty-five women, their children and the children’s caregivers were invited to the first Kids Day Harvest Hoorah at the Timpanogos Women’s Correctional Facility. For more than three hours, the women and their children spent time together with a focus on family fun. Some caregivers traveled from as far away as Colorado and St. George to enable the women’s children to participate in the event.
There was a BBQ lunch prepared by officers and side dishes prepared by inmates in the Davis Applied Technology College’s Culinary Arts program.
United Way of Utah County brought art supplies, activity toys and donated books for each child. Four volunteers from the non-profit organization joined our officers in operating craft tables, while two other volunteers oversaw a face-painting booth.
Six volunteers from our Transition Mentoring Program, who work with inmates to help them develop success plans for their release from prison, also spent the afternoon at the prison helping to oversee the activities for the women and children.
The Utah Falconz women’s football team came out to teach children a few tricks and organized a tag football game. And who else showed up to make sure the children and women had fun? Members of the Mascot Miracles Foundation, whose mission is to bring smiles to children in “unthinkable situations.” There were smiles aplenty!
A BIG thank you to all the volunteers who helped with this special event!
Our staff stepped up in a huge way to make this a special afternoon for the women and their children. A BIG thank you to all of you for what turned out to be an awesome day!
Similar efforts have been quietly occurring throughout the Department. Once a month, the Family Psychology Class facilitates a two-hour get-together for women and children in the visiting room at the women’s prison. A new LIFE program at the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison recently held a banquet that brought together families and men who are preparing for release, giving both parties an opportunity to begin working through expectations and hopes for the future.
We’re proud of our staff for working so hard to make a difference in our inmates’ lives. We also are proud of the many inmates who are focused on positive change.
And a HUGE thank you to all the families who, despite the hardship and heartache you've experienced, continue to support your loved ones by joining us in these special events! You are terrific!