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Fall 2022 Newsletter

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Financial Help Desperately Needed!

No one can escape noticing that everything is becoming more expensive. Rising inflation means that the caregivers of children with incarcerated parents are experiencing increased difficulty meeting basic needs for food, housing, utilities, diapers, gas, etc. 
During the past year, Ambassadors for Hope has provided over $500 in funds to purchase such things as diapers, wipes, glasses, gas, headphones needed for virtual schooling, and sneakers for children with parents in prison.  Local grocery stores have also contributed gift cards to help defer these costs.
However, as needs have recently increased, our resources are clearly insufficient. How can you help? Donate to Ambassadors for Hope during the ExtraGive! The ExtraGive is our largest source of income allowing us to continue to provide our support to these children throughout the year. Your support for AFH during this time is vital to help caregivers meet essential needs of a child whose parent has been incarcerated.
Please donate during the ExtraGive at this link on November 18!
https://www.extragive.org/organizations/ambassadors-for-hope

Any amount you can contribute is greatly appreciated and will directly benefit a child with an incarcerated parent.
 Thank you for helping Ambassadors for Hope meet the needs of children with parents in prison.
 
Tracy Rennecker Community Liaison Update
Things have been keeping me busy the last several months! Mostly I have been preparing for the ExtraGive on November 18! During this stressful time with rising costs to the families we support it is even more important that we have your support during the ExtraGive this year.
In addition to the ExtraGive I have been applying for corporate donations and visiting local stores requesting donations in gift cards for the Family Services Advocate to use for emergency items for the children she works for.
In August I attended the Back to School Night at Burrowes Elementary. It was a very worthwhile event. I met many families and teachers who were glad to hear about Ambassadors for Hope’s mission and the role of the Family Services Advocate at Compass Mark. I also participated in the Community Connections event at Burrowes elementary in the beginning of October. This event is an effort managed by the Community School Director, Alexander Rohrer to connect the families at this school to community agencies on a more regular basis throughout the school year. It is an opportunity for agencies to have a presence in the school community while providing families with information and resources.
I have also been occupied with the children’s book project, working with three Millersville University students to revisit appropriate books for middle school age children and beginning to look for books to be vetted for high school level reading. More to come very soon on this project!

 
Photo above:
Tracy Rennecker pictured at Burrowes Elementary Back to School Night in August
Photo below: Tracy Rennecker pictured with participants at Burrowes Elementary Community Connections event in early October
Family Services Advocate Update
The Family Services Advocate Program continues to receive consistent referrals from Lancaster County Prison. Since March of 2022, Karlee distributed 68 bears to children with a personalized recording from their incarcerated parent. These bears have allowed 68 children to keep an attachment with their mother or father providing comforting moments when they are missing their parent. The Program is continuing to investigate different ways on how to be the most purposeful and make the most impact for the children and families that are affected by parental incarceration. Special visitations at Lancaster County Prison have restarted. This allows a child to have a 1-hour contact visit with their parent once a month when specific guidelines are met. The parent and the child can read books, color, play games, and hug each other, while ultimately maintaining the important bond between the parent and child. Karlee will be presenting in December at the DDAP Psychostimulant Symposium about how parental incarceration impacts children, how to build protective factors around children, and the work the Family Services Advocate Program does to support the children affected by parental incarceration.
Photo: Ambassadors for Hope bear given to children with a parent in prison. 
Parents - the second time around
 
In the past year, over half of the 192 children referred to the Family Services Advocate lived with grandparents. Grandparents who take on caregiving roles are more likely to experience depression and chronic health problems as they are forced to reduce their daily activities, modify their time of employment, and possibly need to quit their jobs or reduce their work hours to care for their grandchildren. 
These families will have a very difficult challenge without support from friends, neighbors, and the community. many churches have programs to assist these families. If you wish to help a family please donate during the 2022 ExtraGive on Friday, November 18. You can also send a donation to Ambassadors for Hope, 8 South George Street, Millersville, PA 17551, or visit the Ambassadors for Hope website to make a donation http://www.ambassadorsforhope.com/donate.php
Suggested Resources

Tips to Support Children When a Parent is in Prison

​​​​​​By: Rosemary Martoma, MD, FAAP

Learn more...
 
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A.H.

Family Resource Guide

Family Resource Guide 2022

Contents
1. Childcare Resources
2. Clothing Resources
3. Community Shelter Resources
4. Counseling and Support Groups
5. Education and Job Services for Adults
6. Food Pantries and Resources
7. Hotlines
8. Housing Support
9. Mentorship for Adults
10. Mentorship for Children
11. Reentry Programs
12. Recovery Resources
13. Resources for Baby Items

Thank you!

To our generous donors,

Thank you for your contributions to our organization last year! We had an extremely successful Extraordinary Give in 2020 with over $10,000 in donations! We could not have done it without your help. With these funds, we were able to provide so much more support for children of incarcerated parents.

As a result of this success, we were able to create and fund a part-time Community Liaison position whose focus is on public education and connecting with the community to advocate and provide resources. Having someone in this position has allowed us to reach out to schools and other community agencies to make them aware of the unique experiences of children with incarcerated parents.

This year, we have researched and systematically assessed children’s picture books and curated a collection that we are providing to the community. It is so important for children affected by parental incarceration to recognize that they are not alone, and to have representation in this way. We are currently working on getting this collection into the elementary guidance department of each school district in Lancaster County, and anywhere else they may be beneficial. Currently, we are reviewing books geared towards slightly older children.

We have also worked with the Family Services Advocate at Compass Mark to create activity kits for elementary-aged children who receive their services. Each kit contains one of the children’s books mentioned above, letter-writing materials to stay connected with their incarcerated parent (notebook, stamps, envelopes, pencils), worksheets that focus on coping mechanisms and empowerment, and literature about our program.

Your donations have also allowed us to budget funds to cover the cost of childcare programs for families who may have been impacted financially by incarceration. One child was able to attend a basketball camp at Spooky Nook over the summer, paid for with these funds. Camps filled up quickly this summer, so we are hoping to expand this even further in the upcoming year.

We appreciate your support, and so do the children we serve! We hope that you will choose to support them again this year.

Warmly,

The Ambassadors for Hope Board

When a parent goes to prison, the child’s life changes forever!

Ambassadors for Hope is the only organization in Lancaster County with the sole function of supporting children as soon as the parent is incarcerated. As a result of the advocacy of Ambassadors for Hope, a fulltime caseworker is available to identify resources to address guardianship issues, medical insurance for the child, financial assistance or food stamps, and other immediate needs.

Ambassadors for Hope looks for ways to involve the child in positive activities by subsidizing before and after school childcare and day camps when needed. We supply age-appropriate books for children and resources for caregivers to help them understand and navigate the criminal justice system. We encourage and facilitate letter writing in order to foster close family contact, which research shows makes it less likely the parent will reoffend.

Vision

Ambassadors For Hope will be the premier advocate on behalf of children of incarcerated parents and their families.

Mission

AFH identifies needs and advocates solutions for the children of incarcerated parents by:

A.H.

The Ambassadors for Hope is a community benefit network of agencies and faith based institutions whose sole purpose is strengthening families impacted by incarceration in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Our Mission is to provide information about resources available to strengthen families impacted by incarceration. As a community benefit organization, comprised of various network participants, we value a positive attitude, listening, advocating, educating, networking, and passion to serve children with a parent in prison.

We are committed to the children, caregivers, families, and communities affected by the issue of a parent being incarcerated.

We are a voice for the 1000 children in Lancaster County who have a parent in prison and often go unnoticed.

We are committed to ending the cycle of crime which affects our community by providing these children, and their caregivers, with the necessary resources to empower communities to be the change they wish to see.

Children Of Incarcerated Parents: A Bill Of Rights

  1. To be kept safe and informed at the time of my parent's arrest.
  2. To be heard when decisions are made about me.
  3. To be considered when decisions are made about my parent.
  4. To be well cared for in my parent's absence.
  5. To speak with, see and touch my parent.
  6. To support as I face my parent's incarceration.
  7. Not to be judged, blamed or labeled.
  8. To a lifelong relationship with my parent.

Ambassadors for Hope:
Serving Children with a Parent in Prison
Telephone: 717-584-6110
Email: ambforhope@comcast.net

Ambassadors for Hope Advisory Council
Amy Marenick, Chair
Mary Glazier, Vice-chair
Bob Cooper, Treasurer
Jen Strasenburgh, Secretary
Robin Boyer
Eric Kennel
Tara Lowe
Carrie Smith
Christina Pfau Laney
Derrick Burch
Angela Keen
Samantha Sweigart

We meet the fourth Friday of each month.