Several inmates from Brown Creek Correctional Institution spent quality time with their families during a Family Fun Day on Saturday.
Fathers were able to do a variety of activities with their children ranging from coloring books to board games. Birdhouses made by the prison’s minimum unit carpentry class were given to each of the children, who then painted them with their fathers. Baby books to chapter books were also available for the fathers to read to their children and to take home. The group was also provided with lunch and refreshments throughout the day.
The children and their caretakers arrived and picked out activities while waiting for the fathers. Kye’rra Shipp, 6, was excited to see her dad, Marquette Shipp, and was eager to tell him that she loves him. While waiting, she shared her favorite things about hanging out with her dad: “Him swinging me around, that he can play, and looking at him,” she said. She also enjoys doing math problems with him. “I like when he tells me about movies,” she said. “He tells me about “Imagine That.” And I like it when he tells me ‘I love you.’”
Phyllis Chambers played games with her great-grandson, Jaquarrie Lindsey, as they waited for her grandson and Jaquarrie’s father, Dennis Lindsey. Jaquarrie, 5, shares a love of Spiderman with Dennis and remembered a special Spiderman birthday card his father had sent him that said how much he loves and misses him.
The group watched a portion of the Sesame Street episode “Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration.” In the episode, a Muppet, Alex, is embarrassed to tell fellow Muppets Abby Cadabby and Rosita about his father’s incarceration. A human character, Sofia, is sympathetic and reveals that her father was also incarcerated, and explains the definition of “incarceration” to Abby and Rosita. The episode also shows children learning to cope with an incarcerated parent and dealing with their emotions. Each family was provided with a DVD of the episode to take home.
The day also provided an opportunity for the fathers to reinforce the good memory for their children. A picture of the fathers with their children was taken and two copies will be given to the father, one for him to keep and one to send home to the child.
The event was held at Polkton Baptist Church and planned by Brown Creek program director Stacey Huntley and Our Children’s Place (OCP), a North Carolina private nonprofit agency that helps the children of incarcerated parents. OCP has helped other prisons hold similar events, but this is the first time that Brown Creek has held a family fun day.
A post made by OCP’s Facebook page credited the American Board of Pediatrics for supplies including books, art supplies and more, the church for hosting the event, and a community college for the food and lunch preparations. It said the day was a community effort: “What a wonderful message to send to these children — we want to support you and your relationship with your father!”
To learn more about OCP’s mission and how to get involved, visit its Facebook page or www.ourchildrensplace.com.