We kick off our last focus of 2008 with a feel-good story that can serve as an inspiration to all. The Make a Smile campaign began as a simple idea to revive playgrounds in Lousiana and Mississippi areas still reeling from Hurricane Katrina. Folks from corrections agencies across the country volunteered in droves.
The playground communities became so encouraged by the outpouring of goodwill, they supported, sheltered and fed all those who participated. Reporter, Ann Coppola, details the energy behind the kind spirit of the event and includes some captivating video too that is well worth viewing.
Jim, Corrections.com editor
What smiles are made of
By Ann Coppola
Making a happy place
The mission of the Make a Smile Playground Project can be best described by its own name: to bring smiles and joy to children who have suffered or are in need. The volunteer project, created by The North American Association of Wardens and Superintendents (NAAWS), had a banner year in 2008, accomplishing a massive undertaking that went above and beyond its namesake goal.
This year, Make a Smile recruited hundreds of correctional employee volunteers from across the country to rebuild three playground parks for children in neighborhoods hard-hit by Hurricane Katrina. The project’s mission especially focused on helping children of corrections families. NAAWS, the Correctional Peace Officer Foundation, and the Association for Professional Women in Corrections combined efforts to raise more than $170,000.
“This involved people from all over the country volunteering time, money, and resources to help people they had never even met and didn’t know anything about,” says NAAWS Vice President Mel Williams, who oversaw building efforts in New Orleans. “We were corrections officers, maintenance employees, probation, parole, secretaries, and nurses. It was unforgettable.” Read this week's full story.
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Regarding Words Through Walls
A very good idea. However, I question its effectiveness. I have seen in my few short years in corrections that there are a lot of family groups that are incarcerated.
There is another program being used that would make more sense. Using groups like Big Brothers Big Sisters, where children are read to by law abiding citizens, would give them positive examples to keep them from following in their parents' footsteps. One of the best ways to help individuals, including inmates and their families, is by good example.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"Platitude: an idea (a) that is admitted to be true by everyone, and (b) that is not true."
- H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956) U.S. editor