BRANCH OF THE VINCENTIAN FAMILY INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT: Sisters of Charity, Ladies of Charity and Society of St. Vincent de Paul

NAME OF SYSTEMIC CHANGE PROJECT: Let’s Start

PROJECT ADDRESS: St. Vincent’s Church, 1408 South 10th Street, St. Louis, MO 63104

CONTACT PERSON: Sr. Jackie Tobin, SSND

LENGTH OF TIME THE PROJECT/PROGRAM HAS BEEN IN EXISTENCE: 21 years

PROJECT WEBSITE: http://www.letsstart.org

Let’s Start, Inc., an organization led by and for formerly incarcerated women, aims to break the cycle of incarceration in families by using the personal experiences of its participants to support recovery, educate the community, and inform policy.

Activities include:

    1. A weekly support group facilitated by a formerly incarcerated woman;
    2. Individual follow-up and referrals to participants;
    3. Weekly activities (tutoring, computer learning, crafts, games) for children when their moms are participating the group sessions;
    4. Presentations in the community and performances of the dramatic presentation “Stories of Hope” to educate the public about issues impacting the lives of women ex-prisoners and their families;
    5. Every other month bus trips to the Vandalia Women’s Prison for children to visit their incarcerated mothers;
    6. A parent education program designed to meet the unique needs of formerly incarcerated mothers;
    7. Individual and group work for 25 children whose lives have been impacted by parental incarceration;
    8. A micro-enterprise program which requires participants to take part in a five hour financial literacy course;
    9. School-based group sessions for children of incarcerated parents in the University City School District.
    10. Advocacy efforts involving Let’s Start participants

In 2003 a Let’s Start program was opened in St. Charles and Baltimore, MD.



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