No one can escape noticing that everything
is becoming more expensive. Rising inflation means that the caregivers
of children with incarcerated parents are experiencing increased
difficulty meeting basic needs for food, clothing, hygiene products,
diapers, gas, etc.
During the past year, Ambassadors for Hope has provided over $500 in
funds to purchase such things as diapers, wipes, glasses, gas,
headphones needed for virtual schooling, and sneakers for children with
parents in prison. Local grocery stores have also contributed gift
cards to help defer these costs.
However, as needs have recently increased, our resources are clearly
insufficient. Are you able to help? Your support will help
caregivers meet essential needs of a child whose parent has been
Any amount you can contribute is greatly appreciated and will directly benefit a child with an incarcerated parent. To donate:
a grocery store gift card or a check made out to Ambassadors for Hope
to Ambassadors for Hope, c/o Glazier, 269 Chestnut Grove Road,
Conestoga, PA 17516, or
Thank you for helping Ambassadors for Hope meet the needs of children with parents in prison.
Tracy Rennecker Community Liaison Update
past few months, I have been busy getting acclimated to my new role as
the Community Liaison for Ambassadors for Hope. Since I stepped into
this role in late May I have been busy soliciting gift cards from stores
around Lancaster County, I recently was able to secure gift cards from
two local Weis grocery stores and one from a local Giant store. The gift
cards have been used by Karlee the Family Services advocate to purchase
food, diapers and other necessary items so desperately needed by the
families she works with. During this stressful time with rising costs to
the families we support it is even more important that I continue to
follow-up with other stores while also seeking out new prospects for
In the coming weeks and months, I will begin attending Back to School
nights and other events as we start gearing up towards the new school
year! The first event will be on August 16 at Burrowes Elementary
school. I will be reaching out to the Community School Directors in the
county to identify other events. And of course, stay tuned in the coming
months for information building towards the ExtraGive!
I have also been busy catching up with the book project by reviewing all
the books in the elementary level collection and reading the middle
school level collection being considered for distribution. I hope to
have a list of recommended books to be considered in the coming weeks.
In addition, I visited the Lancaster Public Library and left a
collection of the elementary level books with the librarian in the
children’s section to be considered for their library, so a larger
audience of children can access books on this important topic.
Ashley Coblentz pictured with staff from Lancaster Rec after she picked
up book donations from the organization’s drop-off location
Family Services Advocate Update
The Family Services Advocate Program has
been quite busy the last few months. Parents in Lancaster County Prison
have been consistently signing up to meet with Karlee, the Family
Services Advocate. Since May, over 25 Ambassadors for Hope bears have
been given out to children who have a parent in prison. These children
reside all throughout Lancaster County. Every time a child receives a
bear with a recorded message from their parent that is in prison, you
can see the absolute joy on their faces.
The program has seen an increase in families needing more support in
different areas. Karlee continues to build relationships with community
organizations to help link families with the best resources to address
their needs. She also continues to participate in the Lancaster County
Reentry Coalition: Family Services and Reunification Impact Group.
The Family Services Advocate Program finished the second cohort of
EMPOWER, a community-based peer support group for children of
incarcerated parents, who are in grades 6-8.
Photo: Ambassadors for Hope bear given to children with a parent in prison.
Highlighting Advocate Partner - Joining
Forces for Children (LGHealth) By: Melanie Avila
ever felt like you’re talking and no one is listening? Or have you
come up short when you try to put into words what you are feeling in
your heart? It can be lonely and sometimes terrifying.
Children in families impacted by incarceration and substance use are
often in this space, feeling unseen and unheard. Both Ambassadors
for Hope and Joining Forces for Children (LGHealth) seek to serve these
children and their families, which often begins with advocacy.
Advocacy is defined as any action that speaks in favor of, recommends,
argues for a cause, supports or defends, or pleads on behalf of
others. Joining Forces for Children listens, speaks up and, until
their own voice is found, speaks for children impacted by a loved one’s
substance use. We encourage, teach and empower children to build
hope; the belief that tomorrow can be better than today and that I have
an active role to play in building it. The Family Advocate of
Joining Forces for Children comes alongside children and caregivers to
provide a listening ear, an empathetic posture, education and skill
building and educational tools to foster emotional and relational health
in families impacted by substance use. We take time to listen and
give vocabulary and validity to unexpressed feelings, thoughts,
memories and dreams. Sometimes this looks like helping a caretaker
share his/her story of recovery for the first time, or helping a child
identify and express his/her feelings towards a parent who drinks too
much, or talking about fears and wishes as a loved one prepares to
reunite with family after a time of separation. Our aim in all of
this is to help children recover from the impact of substance use and
prevent the development of their own substance use disorder in the
Ambassadors for Hope and Joining Forces for Children notice and give
voice to hundreds of children in Lancaster County who are often unseen
and unheard. It is what unites and strengthens us as we stand up,
speak up and listen up to children impacted by the incarceration of a
parent, and children impacted by a loved one’s substance use.
Suggested Resources Joining Forces for Children "is a collaborative
effort to systematically address the needs of children affected by
substance use through training and education, systems and policy
changes, and direct support for children and families."