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Girl Scouts Prison Visitation Program Makes Mother-Daughter Bond Possible

“I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout,” reads the Girl Scout Law.

The organization began in 1912 with a mission to empower young girls and cultivate leaders. Since its founding, the Girl Scouts has always stayed true to its law and has empowered countless young girls over the past century.

In 1992, The Girl Scouts began a group called Girl Scouts Beyond Bars, which aims to “strengthen the bond between mothers and daughters who cannot see each other under normal circumstances, or who require more emotional support than normal prison visitations can provide, with great results for both the adults and the children involved.”

Every little girl needs her mother and this group provides these girls with a connection to their mother they might not have made otherwise.

Since its inception 25 years ago, Girl Scouts Beyond Bars has helped a countless number of young girls. The program, which originally began in Maryland, has now spread to 20 different cities and Girl Scout troops across the country. While there is no way to track just how many girls this program has helped, one troop in Texas has been tracking their numbers. Lolis Garcia-Baab, a spokesperson for the Girls Scouts of Central Texas, shared with Time Magazine that its program has helped at least 160 girls between the ages of 5 and 18. These girls also have the option to receive counseling.

“Many times you’ll step back and realize, ‘Oh, my God. I’m in a prison.’ You really feel you’re just in a troop meeting. You see this love between the child and the mother that just wouldn’t be there if they didn’t have this monthly contact,” Garcia-Baab said

These girls find the program to be very helpful in that it allows them a chance to really get to know their mom. Garcia-Baab added, “To a little girl, it’s huge. Think about all the things you did with your mom growing up. Watching her set the table. Watching her interact with her friends, with other people. We learn so much from our parents, and they really are our closest role models. When you remove that support, the child is really anchorless.”

While these visits might not seem like a lot, to these girls, they mean everything. Not only do the girls get a chance to learn more about their moms, they also get a chance to grow a connection with her.

Garcia-Baab said, “We provide them the support they need and keep that connection with their mom strong. There are a lot of reasons why this troop exists, but the primary reason is [to help] these girls succeed in life, especially with all the things stacked against them.”

Featured Image by Ed Schipul on Flickr

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