Research has shown that inmates who receive regular visits are more likely to have a higher incidence of success after release; thereby lowering recidivism rates and increasing public safety.
In partnership with the Virginia Department of Corrections, AFOI's prison nursery project is underway! We are using trauma-informed design concepts to outfit a nursery on institution grounds so women who come into the system pregnant will be allowed to keep their baby with them.
AFOI's beloved Milk and Cookies Childrens Program is growing into two additional schools for the 2023-2024 school year. Additionally, the MAC curriculum will soon be offered virtually, allowing those incarcerated to connect with their children through a series of modules on a tablet.
In collaboration with the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice, AFOI is in the initial stages of creating a trauma-informed transitional home for juvenile offenders upon release from their commitment to DJJ, offering them a therapeutic reentry program.
We love keeping track of the work our organization has done
in numbers to provide greater detail in outlining our outreach.
Number of video visits from families and children to their incarcerated loved ones placed last year
Number of unique phone calls made and received to individuals related to services and programs last year
Number of people served
Amount of holiday assistance dollars provided to families
and children last year
Mia is 8 years old and in the Milk & Cookies Program at her elementary school. She is a thoughtful and quiet girl who loves to draw, read and make crafts. Mia is confident and bright and is often recognized by teachers for being helpful and kind. And while she knows her dad's voice through phone calls and his handwriting through letters, she had not seen him-had not hugged him-since she was one.
Mia was the third daughter to be born into her two-parent household. Her family was living in a marginal neighborhood and it wasn't easy to make ends meet. In desperation, Mia's dad committed a serious crime and received a 13-year prison sentence. After his conviction, things changed for Mia's family. Her mom struggled. She struggled to be the sole caregiver to her three young girls, to maintain her employment, to cover all of the household expenses, and to stay connected to her family and friends. She felt isolated and alone. She began to use drugs, which resulted in her being convicted of a crime and spending two years in jail. This forced Mia's mom to leave her daughter in the care of extended family members.
When Mia's mother was released from jail, she said, "Mia looked like she'd seen a ghost." It was then and there that Mia's mom decided she was never going to leave her girls again. While she maintained that promise, they were challenged with two years of homelessness, sleeping on floors and couches with friends and extended family. While it took time, Mia's mom eventually got a steady job and saved enough money to secure an apartment for her and the girls to call home.
Mia came home from school after attending a Milk & Cookies group session with a note that AFOI's Transportation Program had a bus going to the prison where her dad was being held. On a cold December morning, Mia and her sisters, along with their mom, boarded the bus that would take them to see their father.
When they arrived, they hugged
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN SEVEN YEARS.
SEVEN LONG YEARS.
Because of AFOI's mission support underserved families of the incarcerated by providing meaningful visitation, family assistance and children’s programs that achieve positive, evidence-based outcomes, AFOI is in the unique position to offer wraparound services for children and families of the incarcerated.
AFOI was able to support Mia and her family in several aspects. Mia was able to engage in the Milk & Cookies program through her elementary school to focus on topics specific to children of the incarcerated such as grief and loss, emotional regulation, and self esteem. She was able to engage with other children with similar life circumstances and feel less alone in the path she was walking.
Simultaneously, AFOI provided Mia's family with low-cost prison transportation services in order to break down the barrier between Mia and her incarcerated father. Offering at least a monthly opportunity for Mia, her sisters and her mother to connect with her father has a long-lasting impact on a much larger scale than just at the family level.
Additionally, Mia's mother was able to receive ongoing support through AFOI's family support groups facilitated by AFOI staff. This allowed her a safe, supportive place to process thoughts and feelings related to the challenges of having an incarcerated loved one.
We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do this important work for those impacted by the incarceration of a loved one.
Each dollar donated helps us to provide programming that changes lives.
Thank you for believing in our mission.
If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach with our organization, consider one of the many opportunities to join us in working towards our mission. Click below to learn more about the opportunities!
We are looking forward to staying in contact with you so that you can get all of the latest updates on our programming, on-site advancements, volunteer opportunities, and more!