On Tuesday, December 15, LCC K-9 Police Ministry Dog Julia (King of Glory – Elgin, Illinois) with law enforcement handler Corporal Terri Albright from the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office, assisted in wrapping gifts to support the Story Book Program at the DuPage County Correctional Facility. This program is a collaboration with JUST of DuPage and SCARCE (School & Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education) where 51 children will receive gifts on behalf of their incarcerated parent. Once a month, inmates who are enrolled in the program record themselves reading a story book or chapters of a longer book. The recordings and copies of the books supplied by SCARCE are then sent to their children.
“It’s wonderful to see the connections and impact that K-9 Comfort Dog Julia is making with the inmates each time she visits with me. Inmates involved in this program know they’ve made serious mistakes but many are working to turn their life around,” said Corporal Albright. “Having the chance to feel the non-judgmental comfort and friendship of Julia gives them the hope and encouragement they need during the difficulties of incarceration and rehabilitation.”
“A lot of people don’t realize that incarceration leaves a family behind and those people aren’t suspects. They’re victims. They’re dealing with the holidays and everything else going on the in world with a parent incarcerated,” said Sheriff James Mendrick. “That’s got to be a tough thing to live with at home. I think this is going to make a big impact where it’s really needed.”
“Christmas is a hard enough time as it is for these children and this year we have no visitation to top it off,” said JUST Executive Director Michael Beary. “We already knew these inmates’ backgrounds and we know they are connected to their children through the Story Book program so it just seemed like the best fit for the money that otherwise would have been spent on a holiday party.”
DuPage County Board District 2 Member Liz Galgano Chaplin, who has long provided children’s books for the waiting room children’s library, assisted with wrapping and preparing the gifts for shipping.
On Thursday, December 17, K-9 Police Ministry Dog Julia and Corporal Albright returned to help JUST of DuPage staff in giving Prison Pack gift bags to every inmate at the DuPage County Correctional Facility.
JUST of DuPage (http://www.justofdupage.com), is a nonprofit organization working to meet the needs of inmates in the DuPage County Correctional Facility and their families with a Christian mission to share God’s love to incarcerated men and women. JUST empowers inmates to pursue rehabilitation and make positive life changes by offering a broad range of services, including addition recovery, education, spiritual enrichment and social services.