Home > Uncategorized > Reaching Out to Families of Prisoners

Reaching Out to Families of Prisoners

When Laure Clemons’ husband was sent to prison, her world almost fell completely apart.  She was overwhelmed trying to make her way through a maze of paying bills, managing a home, and raising children.  She went to see a court official in her community to ask what resources and assistance was available for the families of prisoners.  The one word answer – “nothing” – stunned her.

Laure began to educate herself – ferreting out the agencies and organizations that provided the help she needed:  counseling and life skills training, practical help in finances, parenting, and household management.  Gradually, she was able to “stop doing her husband’s time” and make life work again.  She learned how to have a successful family, career, and social life even though her husband was in prison.

Laure often wondered how, and if, other families of prisoners found the help they surely needed.  Out of that wondering, “Extended Family” was born.  Extended Family is a community based organization that serves as a support and resource to the families of prisoners.  What Extended Family does best is connect the families of prisoners to each other and to the practical help that is so essential to them – through regular family meetings, a national resource data bank, and one-on-one peer networking.

I recently heard Laure speak and had the chance to meet and talk briefly with her.  Her compassion for the families of prisoners is obvious.  Extended Family has spread and touched many lives across the country since it began in 2003.  In the development stage is a book for children entitled, “When Are You Coming Home? And Other Hard Questions.”

A staggering percentage of people around us have a family connection to someone in who is or has been imprisoned.  Prison Fellowship and other prison ministries do great work with inmates.  The “Angel Tree” focuses on providing Christmas gifts and support for their children.  Extended Family offers another way to provide real practical assistance to whole families who might otherwise slip through the cracks and walk alone.

I warmly and wholeheartedly commend Extended Family to every externally-focused, mission-minded congregation as a potential ministry partner.

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  1. August 20, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Scott, I couldn’t have said it better myself! Thanks for passing on the word that Extended Family is here to SHOW families of the incarcerated how to successfully adjust to a new way of life.

    I’m looking forward to hearing from your readers and those that need our services.

    Laure Clemons
    Executive Director, Extended Family

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