A Special Christmas Party at the Indiana Women's Prison
On Saturday, Women’s Fund hosted a special Christmas party for 60 moms from the Indiana Women’s Prison Family Preservation program. Prompted by OPTIONS Alumnae, a group of Women’s Fund volunteers organized lunch, games, face painting, crafts and took family Christmas pictures. I was one of the volunteers truly touched by the experience.
As visitors to the maximum-security prison, we were asked to leave everything in our cars and only walk in with our driver’s license, but that didn’t mean we left our emotions behind. From the minute we walked into the gym to set-up, to the minute we watched the mothers say goodbye to their children, my emotions were all over the board. I watched nervously as the mothers waited anxiously for their children to arrive (and as a few were crushed when theirs didn’t make it); there were times when I laughed along with the moms and their children as they played games and made picture frames together; and I smiled as I watched a few moms encourage their children to eat their fruit before diving into the big chocolate chip cookie. And then there were the heartbreaking times when I watched the moms say goodbye as their children walked away with Christmas presents in tow.
The mothers were truly appreciative of the day. We were thanked with a special gift – handmade knitted scarves and hats. Although for me, the true gift they gave me was that special reminder of how valuable and important every second of every day is. One woman put it like this: “I made a mistake and my life will never be the same. Days like today make me feel normal. I just don’t want to stop hugging my kids.”
I left that party and rushed home to give my own kids a big hug. Thank you to Women’s Fund for all the time, energy and effort that went into making that event happen – and for letting me be a part of it. A big thank you to Jeff Mosley and Marsha Graves from Chick-Fil-A at the Crossing for donating a delicious lunch for the children. I just wish the two of them could’ve been there to see how happy the kids were to enjoy that meal with their mothers. Thank you to all of the OA Women, OPTIONS Class 10 women and members of The Children's Museum Guild for donating the Christmas gifts in advance so the mothers could carefully select a gift to give to their child. And a special thank you to Lisa Boncosky, OPTIONS Class 5, who donated her time and talent to take the most beautiful family Christmas pictures – pictures that I’m sure will soon deck the walls within the Indiana Women’s Prison.
This holiday season, as we all have a million and one things happening at one time; remember to just take a minute to enjoy it all and appreciate the everyday moments.
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