Guidance and support: Children of Promise Mentoring Program helps children with incarcerated parents

Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 9:04 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Some children who have parents that are or have been in prison can face challenges in their everyday life - from financial hardship of a parent losing income while incarcerated to the emotional trauma of a disrupted family life.

”We always talk about breaking a cycle. Trying to change the course of some kids life,” said Daniel Pledge-Johnson, Children of Promise President and Executive Director.

Children of Promise started in Cedar Rapids in 2004, a mentoring program specifically designed for children of the incarcerated.

”With the thought of going out in our community and schools to try to match young people with mentors to spend one year with,” said Pledge-Johnson.

Spending that year doing simple things like grocery shopping together or going to the movies. Giving kids guidance and support along the way.

Allison Laughridge is a mentor in the program and works with three girls. She said they’ve become a part of the family.

”Working with them on just minor things... they have blossomed. One is in elementary school, one’s in middle school, one’s in high school. So, I’ve seen all the different stages with them. It’s made me grow to realize that all these small things is really what they all need. And it makes my day every time to see them smile,” said Laughridge.

Children of Promise currently has 26 mentors and 32 children.

”I think it’s most important to have a mentor in your life just in general. Always keep in mind that it’s someone who can always listen to that second set of words. Those things that we may not say. And that person can guide us and show us how to stay on track,” said Pledge-Johnson.

The program not only giving the youth in the community an extra adult in their lives to connect with, but also giving mentors the chance to see their kids thrive.

”I would say that has allowed or has helped some kids who have had the unfortunate situation of having a parent incarcerated eventually go on to graduate from high school, graduate from college. Because we know that those things don’t happen,” said Pledge-Johnson.

18 years of bringing the community together... one mentorship at a time.

”At the end of the day, these are relationships that will last for a lifetime,” said Pledge-Johnson.

If you’d like to get involved with the program you can click here for more information.

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