Camp connects incarcerated dads with their kids

african kings’s Kyle Michael Miller reports:

For eleven-year-old Shawn Harris, summer camp is about making new friends, playing games and exploring the great outdoors. It also includes making a daily trip to the North Branch Correctional Institution – a maximum-security prison in Cumberland, Maryland, where his father is serving a life sentence.

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“I only see him since I’ve been out here once a year when [he] comes to the program,” said Juvon Harris, Shawn’s father. “Without the program, I wouldn’t get no visits from him.”

The visiting is made possible by a program called ‘Father to Child Camp Behind Bars’ sponsored by Hope House, a Non-Profit organization based in Washington, D.C.

Carol Fennelly started Hope House to help families and dads stay connected. The children spent five days with their dads doing arts and crafts, music and games aimed at building families and creating strong bonds.

Shawn thinks coming to the camp is important because he gets to spend time with this father. “I get to play games with him, write our songs.”

The camp helps the fathers and kids create simple memories and traditions they often miss.

“No matter what the father did, his child didn’t do anything,” Carol said.

Click here to read more about this program.