When a parent goes to prison, it can have a devastating effect on the family left behind to cope with the aftermath. One of every 12 American children, more than 5.7 million kids under age 18, will experience parental incarceration at some point during their lives.
This month most of us will be celebrating Father’s Day as we have a chance to rejoice in the men who provided leadership, instruction, encouragement and support throughout our lives. For those children whose fathers are absent due to incarceration there has not been much to celebrate, until now.
A surprising outcome of the WIEA program “Operation Transformation” is that we are seeing men behind bars engage and invest in their children’s lives. Because of the support and encouragement these men are receiving as part of their seminary training they understand in new ways the important role of the father in the life of a child and are reaching out to their own children with renewed hope and a sense of purpose. They are experiencing change and success in ways they did not expect and now see how they can be positive role models for their children, even from behind bars.
You may recall the story of Mr. Wells, a first year student in the program. Mr. Wells now considers it part of his life purpose to connect with his children on the outside. After just one week of attending class he was so excited about what he was learning that he reached out to his children at home and asked them to order the same textbooks he was using in class.
He realized what a difference it would have made in his life and choices if he had been raised with a Godly foundation and has made it his goal to build one for his children. They are now working through his seminary lessons together. Mr. Wells is involved in his children’s future on the outside, from inside the prison, using just a few of the skills he learned as part of Operation Transformation. This would not have been possible before.
Another student who has longed for a relationship with his parents has found a way to connect with his father, a man of faith, because of what he is learning in his seminary classes. The pivotal point in their relationship came when this student inmate sent his first semester assignments and class notes home to his father. Intrigued by what he read, his dad wanted to learn more which began a series of life changing conversations that is transforming their relationship as father and son. The two now share their faith with each other regularly and are celebrating a genuine bond for the first time this Father’s Day, one of both friendship and faith.
As this program continues to grow we know will continue to witness the changes our heavenly Father brings to the lives of these fathers and their families.
Get to the Gatekeepers
In impoverished communities, some of the most influential gatekeepers are the individuals or groups who organize and perpetuate crime. If you want to dramatically change struggling communities, you start with those gatekeepers.
WIEA’s initiative is built on a proven system to transform gatekeepers whose influence is rooted in criminal activity. Change starts in prisons with inmates and spreads to families and communities around the state.
June 18th- Waupun to approve 2018/2019 Applications July 9th- 2018/2019 Final student determination July 13th – 2018/2019 Accepted inmates notified September 14th – All 2018/2019 Students transferred to Waupun October 1 – 2018/2019 classes begin October 18th – WIEA Inaugural Fundraiser
Thank you so much for your prayers and support of this ministry. +Praise God for an incredible 2017/2018 school year. +Please pray for the final term which starts July 2nd. +Prayers that God would call out inmates to move past their fears, submit applications, break through the barriers and embrace Operation Transformation. +Prayers for the final decision on the students for the cohort starting in fall. +Prayers that the inmates within Waupun would witness the change happening and that the Lord would move in their hearts. +Pray for wisdom for our professors. +Pray that God will continue to meet our financial needs. +Pray as you feel lead for WIEA.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
In 2017, the population in the State of Wisconsin was 5.795 million people. This is roughly the
same as the number of children that will experience a parental incarceration at some point during their lives.
Join us in changing our prisons and communities