The success of a not-for-profit organization depends on many factors, but at the core, the organization must be able to explain why it exists and what need it meets.  Extended Family began twenty years ago when Laure Clemons’ husband was in prison.  Struggling emotionally, mentally, and financially, Laure looked around for resources to help her and her teenage daughters and found nothing.  Laure founded Extended Family to prevent other families who were dealing with the incarceration of a loved one from experiencing those same feelings of hopelessness and isolation that her family felt.  Over the years, Extended Family has helped thousands of families learn how to successfully adjust to a new way of life with a free, solution-based approach to the prison experience.

Everything we do is centered around our purpose, including providing educational programming for adult and child family members of the incarcerated, conducting and sharing research, and reporting on best practices for living a healthy lifestyle throughout the prison and reentry experience for each member of the family.  Embedded in our purpose is the understanding that strong individuals build strong families, which, in turn, creates strong communities.

When a strong purpose is blended with passion for our mission, “to offer help and inspire hope,” the result is a set of programs, developed and taught by Extended Family staff, to provide practical solutions for daily life for the family members of the incarcerated and to implement coping strategies to help break the cycle of incarceration in families. For children, we offer Extended Family for Kids, a nine-lesson curriculum designed to build self-esteem, ease feelings of shame, ease isolation, decrease stress, address anger issues, and strengthen communication skills.  Extended Leadership Academy, our series for older children who are considered to be “at-risk,” teaches job readiness, health, and communication.  Both programs for children share the goal of preventing children from entering into the juvenile justice system.

For adult family members, we maintain a resource database of services in communities across the nation, with information available twenty-four hours a day on our website.  Our helpful hints promote self-care for the family members who are bearing the responsibility of caring for the family, the home, and the needs of the incarcerated loved one.  We also help families navigate the prison experience and lessen the stress as they adjust to their new “normal.”  We are committed to preventing other families from going through this experience alone.

Extended Success for Life, our newest program launched in January 2024, helps returning citizens address challenges with a three-part approach – dream, learn, and live.  This program follows newly returned citizens for twenty weeks and teaches them to set goals for their physical, mental, and emotional success.  The lessons and activities are tailored to the unique needs of each man who signs up for the program.  The ultimate goal of Extended Success for Life is to help prevent recidivism by providing individualized support and step-by-step guidance for the participants.

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