You’ve prayed for and supported me and Lara as we help the women of Hope House and I thank you. We are holding a Walkathon Fundraiser on April 8th and would love for you to join us. Flyer attached. If you can’t join us but want to donate, you can go to our website or simply write a check to First Touch Mission and mail it to P.O. Box 303 Safety Harbor, FL 34695. If you’re just hearing about First Touch Mission, Let me tell you a little about us.
First Touch Mission (FTM) provides support for women transitioning from prison into the Tampa Bay Communities. The program is designed to help participants break the cycle of returning to prison or returning to the patterns of their “old life.” FTM offers housing, financial aid, support and mentoring to the women accepted into the program. We are a faith-based, non- profit run by volunteers only.
In an article written by Marsha Weissman in 2000, the statistics of the effects of an incarcerated parent, especially the mother, upon her children is profound. These children have been associated with poor academic achievement, involvement in delinquency and gang-related activities, violence and eventually adult criminal behavior. One study estimated that children with imprisoned parents are almost six times more likely than their counterparts to become criminally involved and incarcerated at some point in their future. Those statistics have not changed much over the years and it is the main reason FTM was created. At FTM, we strive to become change agents, not just for the women, but for their children as well. In doing so, we have found that not only has the world of the women been changed, but the world of their children, grandchildren, mothers and siblings. Generational change has the trickle-down effect, thus halting the cyclic behaviors of families lost in the world of substance abuse, criminal behavior, mental illness and domestic violence. Prison destroys families. Our prayer is that through the restoration of one woman at a time, generational healing will occur.
Since opening the doors of Hope House, our residence home, in 2008, we have admitted 20 women into the program and into our house. Most of these women are now employed and living as healthy, productive contributors to society. Of those who completed the course and graduated the program, only one has returned to prison. While we have not yet reached our goal of a 100% success rate, we are proud to say we have far exceed the national average, where only 30% of offenders adopt a lifestyle that doesn’t involve returning to prison.