Books for System-Impacted Children
Our book project mails children a book “from” their incarcerated family members in San Quentin State Prison, with an emphasis on incarcerated fathers.
The visiting room at San Quentin has been sitting empty for the first half of the 2020 year. The already strained relationships between incarcerated men and their children and other family members continue to be impacted by communication barriers. Children that once lost a parent, grandparent, brother, etc. are facing yet another loss as they are unable to see their loved one. They are unable to spend long hours getting snacks from the vending machines, playing checkers or taking photos with them. The lack of visiting and re-traumatization caused by the increasing separation can be unbearable. Our team created this new project to mitigate some of these additional consequences posed by COVID-19.
Our staff will mail a book to a child “from” their incarcerated loved one in San Quentin State Prison with permission of the guardian. The incarcerated men can either send a letter to our office with the contact information of the guardian of the child or give the guardian our contact information to initiate. The men are a core part of this process, serving as a “middle man” between the guardians and us. This is an opportunity for them to participate in the lives of their family and stay connected.
Once we have the relevant information (the age, reading level, gender and address), our office will find an age-appropriate and reading-level-appropriate book to send. The books themselves are high quality, like-new book donations we are collecting from individuals, schools and libraries. There will be no cost to the family, which is why we are continuously seeking monetary donations for postage.
Our team sees this as an opportunity to help children still feel loved and connected to their incarcerated loved ones. Additionally, we see this as an educational effort to improve access to books and learning materials for this vulnerable population already suffering steep educational setbacks due to COVID-19.
Thank you to our community partners for their generous donations and support: