Supporting children living with the criminal justice systemMarch 25, 2021
Incarceration can have a devastating effect on children and young people. Shine for Kids exists to support children, young people and families with relatives in the criminal justice system.
Shine for Kids ‘Ride by Your Side’ program provides foundational support to help stop the cycle of intergenerational criminal behaviour. Assisting with the provision of transport and mentors where the children did not have family support to navigate the prison system, and resources to facilitate regular and consistent visits. The support provided by our team helps to reduce the impact that parental incarceration has on children.
Thanks to your donations SHINE for Kids received a $30,000 grant of $30,000 to strengthen family relationships by reducing social isolation for children aged 5-16 years from the Geelong region whose father is in custody in Barwon and Marngoneet prisons through the Ride By Your Side transport and mentoring program.
The impact of Covid-19 on this program has been immense and although they have not been conducting transport since March 2020 as the prisons have been in lockdown, they continue to support the current families engaged in the program throughout this difficult time; and are actively providing updates, mentorship, and support through online platforms. Staff and volunteers are supervising online visits for the children and their loved ones in prison which have been held weekly to ensure that families are connected and supported during this difficult time.
6 year old Marcus has been in the program since December 2019 and was very distressed when things started to change at the start of the year due to lockdown. Suddenly he was unable to visit his dad, go to school or hang out with his friends in person. Marcus was one of the first kids to join the community mentoring program and now has weekly sessions with his mentor Christina who he has formed a close bond with.
Christina’s stated “The move to online mentoring has allowed me to still help kids who were not only navigating their parent being away but also a pandemic where their life changed. I’ve had the privilege to volunteer as a mentor for Marcus and his family over the last few months. I love working with Marcus, he is very bright and enthusiastic. Our weekly sessions have allowed me to see him grow more confident in his own learning and abilities and despite some initial confusion and discomfort Marcus has been able to develop and nurture his relationship with his dad during his online visits.”
Thanks to your support the Foundation can support kids like Marcus, providing them with stability and connection.