Improving children’s lives through shared reading via video with their incarcerated parents to boost school achievement, pave the way to a brighter future, and break the cycle of incarceration.
The OK Messages Project takes trained volunteer teams into prisons to coach and film incarcerated parents reading a book to their child and sharing a positive message. We mail the book and DVD of the parent reading the story to approximately 1,000 children before Christmas and 1,000 children for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
As children get to see and hear their parents sharing positive messages like “I love you, and I’m proud of you” through OK Messages DVDs, it helps them see themselves in a positive way, and they know that their parents are safe and love them.
Breaking the cycle of incarceration one child at a time
A little girl who has been receiving OK Messages videos since she was 4 years old explains why the program is so important to her.
The OK Messages Project helps Zay Lynn feel connected to her mom by allowing her to see her and hear her voice through the DVDs and books that she receives. It makes her feel like she is with her mom in person.
Ways you can Help
We need children’s books for incarcerated parents to read to their children on video! Reading aloud together helps the kids know their parents love them and it improves their reading!
Thank you for your support!
The OK Messages Project Works
– Oklahoma teenager
of children had less depression and sadness
of children showed improvement in reading
of children had higher self-esteem
Ways You Can Help
With your help, we can improve the lives of children of incarcerated parents through shared reading.
Donate a Book
At OK Messages, we are always in need of new books for the children. You can purchase a book on Amazon Smiles and have a book sent directly to us.
Become a Volunteer
We couldn’t accomplish what we have without our volunteers. Help us continue to make a difference in children’s lives. Become a part of our incredible team.
Help the OK Messages Project Change Lives
Keeping a child connected with their incarcerated parent or parents is a tall order, but with your help, we can continue to make it possible. Any amount helps.
it only takes $10 to buy a book
it only takes $50 to buy 5 books
it only takes $150 to sponsor a child for one year
What motivated you to volunteer with OK Messages?
It was pretty serendipitous actually! After watching the documentary 13th and reading the novel Idaho, the crisis of mass incarceration and particularly the mass incarceration of women here in Oklahoma was so very troubling to me. I wanted to do something but I didn’t know how or where to start. I ran into a dear friend and she told me about OK Messages Project – a program her parents Cheri and Holmes were leading and I knew right then and there I had to be a part of it.
What makes this volunteer experience a meaningful use of your time?
There truly is no more meaningful way to spend my time! Being a parent to my own children is the most important thing in my life so to be afforded the opportunity to help cultivate that relationship with others is beyond rewarding. For so many children these videos are the only time they get to see their moms, dads and grandparents. To give children the gift of seeing, with their own eyes, that their loved one is safe and healthy; to let them hear the words, I love you and I’m proud of you – those are precious moments and I am honored to be a part of them.
What is the biggest personal benefit you receive from your time within the OK Messages experience?
Children with an incarcerated parents are seven times more likely to serve time at some point. If my involvement with OMP can halt that cycle for even one child, it’s worth it. Nothing feels better than making a difference and I know that on filming days when our team sets up in the gym or the chapel we have made a difference just by being there. Prison is a dark, oppressive place and when OMP is on the yard we are a bright shining light of love and support. We don’t film inmates, we film moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas – I love that.