WILDOMAR – The National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated reports that one in 28 children in the U.S. has an incarcerated parent.
“These children are often pulled into the cycle of drug abuse, violence and crime themselves, following their parents’ footsteps on the path to incarceration,” Dr. Mona Davies of Murrieta said. Davies is the co-author of a new book commemorated Sept. 10 with a luncheon in Wildomar that was attended by more than 100 community members and elected officials including Riverside County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries and Wildomar City Councilwoman Bridgette Moore of District 4.
Titled “Children’s Liberation from Incarceration,” the book was co-written by Davies and her husband, Robert Davies, to combine qualitative research with the personal narratives of Riverside County children of incarcerated parents who went on to lead successful lives after graduating high school and even college.
“What their stories have contributed to is a model called ‘Breaking the Cycle of Incarceration,’ and it is helping families everywhere reduce recidivism and break that cycle,” Davies said.
Through the Wildomar-based nonprofit, Community Outreach Ministry, which was founded by the Davies more than a decade ago, the couple have come to know thousands of southwest Riverside County youth affected by incarceration. The organization works closely with Prison Fellowship International’s Angel Tree program, which provides Christmas gifts to children on behalf of their incarcerated parents. Community Outreach Ministry takes the Angel Tree program a step further by holding summer camps and other events throughout each year for such children as well as their family members and caregivers.
The luncheon also served as a fundraiser for such events, with community sponsors ranging from Wells Fargo, Wellness and More, Mentors For Kids Ministry and Temecula Motorsports to New Life Culinary Creations and Denise Ronzello of Shear Expressions Salon, all giving sizable amounts to the cause. Yet others contributed by volunteering their time to ensure the event ran smoothly.
“The work Mona and Bob have been doing is just amazing,” Karin Arango, Southern California field director for Prison Fellowship and Angel Tree, who spoke at the luncheon, said. “This is what we would like to see everyone doing — year-round events, not just at Christmas. And now they are ministering with resources for the caregivers.”
Jeffries also expressed his appreciation for Community Outreach Ministry and congratulated the Davies on the publication of their book.
“All of our resources in Riverside County are stretched to the limit, so to have a nonprofit like we do here is really a big help for those youth,” Jeffries said. “The services they are providing are incredibly valuable, and if they can teach others how to do what they’re doing with this book, I know it is going to make a great impact across the county, across the state and perhaps across the nation. I hope a lot of people take the opportunity to read it.”