On Saturday, May 15, we held our first brunch for mothers affected by incarceration at Orleans Bistro Restaurant. Our guest speaker was Kimberly Jenkins-Snodgrass, mother of an incarcerated son, and Chair of the Interfaith Agency for Human Rights where she is working diligently on legislation to end solitary confinement in Virginia. Mrs. Snodgrass shared with the mothers her story and the importance of living past their hurt. She also spoke about the victims that are affected and families that are neglected.
Thirty mothers signed up to attend our brunch. Our mothers ranged from their 30s to 80s, with a majority of their sons incarcerated with sentences ranging from one year to over 50 years. Though many of the mothers arrived with heavy hearts they soon became engaged with each other through commonality and shared stories. Juanita Shanks broke the ice of uncertainty by asking each of the mothers to stand up and share facts about themselves. Soon the mood of the room was joyous and many of the women spoke about the sisterhood they felt. Many left the brunch with a sense of peace and direction to better control their emotions and to know they are not alone. A majority of mothers signed up to become a member of our Caring Connections Support Group and to become a FailSafe-ERA volunteer.
Our support group meets the 3rd Saturday of the month from 9:30-11:30 at our office location at the Rappahannock Goodwill located at 4701 Market Street or via phone. Interested family members can contact our office at 540-479-3021 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are excited to announce our support group book club starting with Carol Kent’s “Waiting Together”. The story of a mother’s only son serving life in prison for murder. Failsafe-ERA through sponsorships has provided free books for our club members.
We thank the following sponsors for making this year’s brunch possible:
Pastor Phyllis Brantley
Dr. Janet Brown