Care for children
Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
- Matthew 18:5
Prisons remove parents from the lives of millions of American children. Here in New York City, it is estimated that more than 100,000 children have parents who are serving time. International human rights advocates have called parental incarceration "the greatest threat to child well-being in the United States."
In 2006, St. James’ Church embarked on a ministry to transform the lives of children of incarcerated parents, and through relationships with them, to transform ourselves. St. James’ members volunteer in partnership with staff from The Osborne Association, an organization with an 80-year history of leadership in working with currently and formerly incarcerated men, women, and children and families affected by the incarceration of a loved one. Osborne staff provide training and support for St. James’ volunteers who participate in monthly activities and accompany the children on visits to see their parents in prison.
Called to serve?
Share the Joy with children this Christmas by giving gifts they've specially requested.
Volunteer at a Saturday activity. Past group activities have included mural painting, bowling, cooking classes, apple picking, and Mets games. The activities allow volunteers and children to get to know one another and have fun. Volunteers must pre-register, and there is a suggested donation for each activity; individuals over 18 and families with young children are both welcome to attend.
Chaperone a prison visit. Albion Prison is located upstate in a rural area difficult to reach for many families of the women imprisoned there. You can support children and their incarcerated parents to maintain family ties. Groups of St. James’ parishioners travel together, joining children, other family members, and Osborne staff. Day and overnight trips happen several times a year. Training is required.
Donate gifts and supplies. Help collect school and dorm room supplies for children heading off to college.
Contact parishioner Elaine Connelly for more information.
You are truly an inspiration to me. You have made me see that God truly works through people…
You gave of yourself to my children, and me.
- A mother incarcerated at Albion Prison