As we come to the end of 2013 and as we look back on what was accomplished, I can hardly believe we managed it all. This couldn’t be done without your help, so thank you for your support.
One of the many things that weas accomplished this year was The Messages Project expanded into five more institutions in Virginia. It’s amazing to think we started in just one facility some 14 years ago.
We got to film the dads at our super max prison in the very far western part of our state. For the fathers there, it was the opportunity to connect with their children — some of whom they hadn’t seen in as many as 15 years. The result was many smiles, some tears, and an outpouring of appreciation for the caregivers who give so much to the children. Books that have been donated were sent to the children, and beginning this year, the kids also received pictures to color and send back to their parents. We took the holiday-themed coloring pages to the institutions and got permission to include them with a note in the packages we sent to the children. The wardens and staff were as excited as we were to be able to do this.
We now a have new book for the parent and child — A Parent’s Message — which is an interactive text that the parent can use to explain many things to their kids about “Why I Am Away.” It has pages for the children to write their questions on and mail back to the parents. We hope to have this in institutions across the states in the near future.
The Messages Project went international this year. The Messages Project of Malawi is more than a dream; it is a reality. Our first messages in Africa were done for the holidays and hand delivered to the children and families of women who are incarcerated in the prison system there. Along with the message from their mom, each family received clothing, toys, books, and food. This was done with the help of numerous volunteers through our partnership with the Jacaranda Foundation and School in Malawi.
We also met with the New York Department of Corrections about bringing the Messages Project to the moms and dads serving time there. They are on board and want us to start at Sing Sing and Taconic in 2014. I am looking forward to starting the filming in the first quarter of the new year. Allison O’Neill is the coordinator for The Messages Project in New York. She has already had a fundraiser and The Messages Project of New York received a new camera as a donation. Thank you for all up there that support this most important work.
The Messages Project was filmed for a documentary by Life Is My Movie Entertainment, which will be completed sometime in 2014.
While the Messages Project was at the super max prison, we became a focal point of another documentary that was being filmed up there. We had no idea it was being filmed, so this was a pleasant surprise. The Executive Producer said she would like to do a documentary on The Messages Project once they finish the one they are working on.
Founder & CEO
The Messages Project