Community Family and Kids Youth

Motherly Intercession holds fundraisers to impact lives of children of those who are or have been incarcerated

Written by Tanya Terry

Featured photo: Necole Hayes, executive director of Motherly Intercession talks to children of incarcerated parents about how to properly address feelings.

There are approximately 45,000 children in Genesee County who have a mother or father that is currently incarcerated or has been incarcerated according to the website for Motherly Intercession, a 501 C (3)  focused on the Children of Incarcerated Parents (CIP’S). CIPs include both children who have a parent (mother or father) who is currently incarcerated or those who have a parent that was previously incarcerated.

The number of these children, who are oftentimes young and innocent, is often unknown, along with the hardships the children face, according to Necole Hayes, executive director of Motherly Intercession.

Hayes said when children initially come into Motherly Intercession, they are often struggling with behavioral or emotional issues.

“Especially at this time of year, coming into the holidays, they can get really emotional because their parent is not there,” Hayes explained.

Instead of shaming the children for this, Hayes, who has a background in social work, tells the children it’s good to address feelings-as long as they are addressed positively.

“I tell them it’s while it’s not OK to hit people, they can hit a pillow,” Hayes added.

Among several programs for offered for children and youth, Motherly Intercession offers Reading and Counting to Success Plus (RAC+). Through this program, the organization provides afterschool homework assistance and tutoring in reading, writing and math. They also provide Summer Day Camp with academic support and field trips during the summer month.

During the 2020-21 school year, 18 students were served, with 13 students having pre and post tests. Reading assessment outcomes showed 77% of these students improved from the time they enrolled in the program to the time of their last test.

The N-Touch Ready 4 Real Life program is for youth ages 13 and older. The youth meet twice monthly to discuss job skills, adulting/life skills, education and health.

The new teen room at Motherly Intercession.

Currently there are 18 kids in Motherly Intercession programs, and there were over 60 before the pandemic. The number of children is intentionally kept smaller since most of them are under 12 and have not been able to be vaccinated.

Besides working with children and teens, Motherly Intercession works directly with parents. Recently, the organization was able to provide basic needs boxes to help parents and caregivers. In addition, parenting classes are among many services offered to both mothers and fathers.

“A lot of people think because of our name, Motherly Intercession, we only deal with mothers. We don’t. We deal with fathers also. We do have a new fatherhood program, and we’re hoping to get that into the jail also.”

Inside Out Dad shows fathers how they can effectively parent from inside jail or prison, as well as how to do so when they get out.

Motherly Intercession is holding several fundraisers, and appreciates the support the community has offered them through the years. Supporters of the cause can purchase honey baked ham gift cards off Motherly Intercession’s website, can shop at participating restaurants and have a portion of their bill go to the organization, can participate in a virtual silent auction or buy 2022 calendars.

For details on Motherly Intercession or their fundraisers, visit https://www.unlocktheirfuture.org/.

In a support group held at Genesee County Jail through Motherly Intercession participants take part in an ice breaker to get to know each other better.

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