This month we have been traveling the state of Oklahoma filming hundreds of mothers and fathers to connect them with their children for the upcoming Mother’s and Father’s Day.
These parents have been separated from their children for months – and in many cases years. This long-term separation has a lasting and damaging impact on the children.
A mother’s love and attention is a key component that helps to shape a child’s growth and development. With over 96,000 children in the State of Oklahoma having a parent in prison during their childhood, the impact on these children expands beyond just the immediate family – it impacts entire communities.
We hear heartbreaking stories each time we go into a prison of how many years children have been separated from their parents, no longer even knowing what they look like. But, through the OK Messages Project videos- we are seeing hope and happiness. These children and parents finally have a way to interact with each other – thus, creating a pathway to bond a mother (and father) with their child once again.
Communication starts to happen, children develop more confidence by being able to see that they are loved and cared for – even as distance may separate them from their parents.
The parents love their children, they miss their children and they are so proud of them. They are so thrilled to be able to finally have a connection and know that their kid are seeing and hearing them each day.
“My mom said that both of my boys kissed the screen after watching the video. They love it. I am 2,500 miles away from home, so this is the only way they get to see me. We talk on the phone often now. I am grateful for this program.” – An Oklahoma Messages Project Mother
For mother’s who have been able to participate in the program, the relationship, behavior and academic performance of their kids improves.
As Mother’s Day approaches, let us remember that not everyone has a mother present. This is a very hard time for these children. We are happy to be able to impact the lives of so many families in the state of Oklahoma – but, more importantly, bring the joy and confidence back to these children who so desperately need and deserve it.