Mentoring Children of Prisoners programs, like the Shapes Mentoring Program, exist to help these children connect with caring adults. These adults commit to hang out with their mentees for at least one hour per week for one year. By doing so they provide the child with a safe place and time each week to let down their guard and be a kid.
Children of prisoners experience a number of risk factors as a result of their situation. Many of the children and families live at or below the poverty level. The children deal with the stigma that comes with being a child of a prisoner as other kids at school become aware of the situation.
Some public schoolteachers, day care workers and even Sunday school teachers and other church staff write off these families because of what the parent has done.
With all of this stacked against them it is no surprise that 70 percent of these children are expected to end up incarcerated themselves in the future.
Mentors from programs like the Shapes Mentoring Program and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks (BBBS) work hard to assure these children that they are still loved and respected by people in the community. With approximately 1,000 children of prisoners living in southwest Missouri the need for mentors is great.
Programs like Shapes and BBBS are always looking for those willing to volunteer and to help fund these vital programs.
By partnering with these programs the community can provide a caring adult and a safe place for each child of a prisoner in our community.