Kids in the Loop
Kids of Inmates Deserve Support
KIDS in the LOOP is a nonprofit organization that strives to nurture, support, and educate children of Ohio incarcerated parents by strengthening family life through quality resources and youth and family development programs. We are located in Summit County and currently serving inmates and families in Northeast Ohio.
Both at Grafton Reintegration and Northeast Reintegration, scrapbooking workshops were held for over 100 inmate moms and dads. Kids in the Loop provided the supplies and volunteers to aid in the creation of scrapbooks while working on parenting skills. When completed, the scrapbooks were given to the inmate's child.
Healthy Back to School Dads Day
GCI partnered with the Kids in the Loop to provide a back to school event called, “Healthy Back to School Dads Day.” The goal was to develop healthy habits for a successful school year with the child’s father playing an active role in encouraging his child to do their best. At this event, the fathers and their children participated in workshops that promoted daily physical activity, self-esteem, nutrition and making the grade. This day was a great way for the fathers to be involved with their children’s preparation to return to class and concluded with the men at GCI passing out backpacks which were full of school supplies for the upcoming school year. Thank you to Health Foundation of Greater Massillon for funding the day.
Kids in the Loop partnered with GCI Vets & Friends Crochet. Using yarn provided by Kids in the Loop and other contributors, the men crocheted hats and mittens that were included in the backpacks distributed to children of inmates. They also crocheted for Haven of Rest, the largest homeless shelter in Akron and Pregnancy Solutions, an agency that supports pregnant women in need.
Bringing together three, creates a beautiful tree!
Kids in the Loop, Green Student Council and GCI Vets & Friends Crochet joined forces to put together a Christmas Tree for the Holiday Tree Festival that benefits Children's Hospital. Inmates crocheted penguins, high school students decorated the tree, and Kids in the Loop coordinated efforts. The tree sold immediately for $750.00!!
Over 150 Veteran's Day cards were delivered to incarcerated veterans. Dozens of children spend time creating the cards. The cards included a Veterans sticker that the inmates could display.
Celebrate Families, Celebrate Holidays
“Celebrate Family Around the World” took place at Grafton Reintegration on December 11th with 40 children and their inmate parent and custodial parent. The goal was two-fold: 1) bring families together to celebrate the holidays and 2) learn about other culture’s major ceremonies and what role the family plays in the celebration. Families enjoyed cultural activities by creating crafts, sampling holiday treats and listening to stories. These activities were set up at different stations where participants rotated. The four stations revolved around the following: Hanukkah in Israel; Kwanzaa in America; Christmas in Germany; and Eid-ul-Fitr in the Middle East. Prior to the activities, Dads made no-sew fleece blankets for their child. The day concluded with a “raffle” for prizes and the children received gifts.
Family days appear to be the most successful and needed activities. Plans are being made for a Summer Safety Fun Family Day. Safe Summer Fun activities will be created for child, caregiver and inmate parent to enjoy and learn together. Learning experiences will be set up as stations, which participants will rotate through. For example, “Protective Gear” will be one station (bike helmets, sun block, sunglasses). Other stations will be “Summer Eats” with an emphasis on hydrating foods and liquids; “Summer Play” will focus on water, 4th of July, and camping safety; and “First Aid” will address what to do if someone is hurt. Not only will the day be educational and perhaps save a life, but it will also offer a rare opportunity for families to interact for the entire day in a supportive environment. The Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA Chapter 559) has made the first donation and hopefully we'll receive more funding. If you'd like to help, check out our GoFundMe website.
Thank you to everyone from Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections that have been so supportive of Kids in the Loop! Special thanks to Todd Ishee, Jennifer Gillece, LaShann Eppinger, Adam Kastler, Aaron Hurst, and Eric Gardenhire for all their support and help with events. Last but not least, the inmates and their children for making the days so much fun!!