The Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia began offering offenders an opportunity to participate in Girl Scouts Beyond Bars at Lee Arrendale State Prison, in September 2017.  The program provides participants with an opportunity to meet once a month and focus on bonding, and reinforcing values of courage, confidence and character.

“Children of incarcerated parents are more likely to become incarcerated themselves,” said commissioner Timothy C. Ward of the Georgia Department of Corrections.  “The GDC strives to break this cycle by allowing the daughters of incarcerated mothers an opportunity to rebuild their relationship and to learn how to communicate effectively.”

The Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program began in Maryland and has been in existence for over 25 years.  There are three components to the program: mothers and daughters meet inside the prison, daughters meet as a regular Girl Scout Troop outside of the prison, and volunteers come into the facility to speak with mothers about leadership and parenting skills.  The varying components allow each participant time to focus on themselves and provides each with the skills needed to reestablish the mother/daughter bond.

During their monthly meetings, the Troop allows participants to join in on sharing activities, discussions, games and crafts, which all focus on bonding and working together.  “Ultimately we want to give these girls the tools to be successful and to make a positive impact in the lives of our mothers and daughters,” said Jessica Sykes, Troop Leader.  “No matter the circumstances, these women are still mothers/daughters and we need to focus on rebuilding their bond.”

Information from Georgia Department of Corrections.

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