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Summer Steel of Oklahoma City has been volunteering with Oklahoma Messages since last fall. We’re so thankful to have her with us, and we invited her to share why the program is so important!

“Since I’ve been in a men’s prison visiting my brother, I’ve seen children visiting their fathers. It’s intimidating, awkward, and very difficult for them to have a personal, meaningful connection. I see the dads trying to play or talk with them, but it’s hard for kids to sit at a square table in a white, noisy, uninviting room.

But with the OK Messages Project, to actually bring their dad into their home via video, the children are in a safe place and time. Then they can watch the video and read on the kids’ terms. When you have to go to a prison with a relative and don’t really know your dad, it’s hard. But if it’s in their home and there are no guards, no razor wire and concrete walls to go through, then kids say, ‘I can watch Daddy. He’s reading to me. It’s playful and silly,’ and it leads to actual bonding.”