Extended Family is privileged to have partnerships with many wonderful organizations including schools, civic groups, law enforcement officers, correctional facilities, and courts to bring our programs to children who need them. The goal of Extended Family programs is to help break the cycle of incarceration in families and to help prevent juveniles from entering into the judicial system. The value of these programs is recognized by all of those with whom we partner.
During 2023, we saw an increase in the number of children we serve in both our Extended Family for Kids and Extended Leadership Academy programs. Extended Family staff led groups in schools and in juvenile diversion programs in four counties and we were able to train Extended Family for Kids program leaders in many other places, bringing our programs to numerous children in kindergarten through 12th grade.
We could not accomplish all that we have without the work of our many dedicated volunteers. Some volunteers assist staff program leaders in the more than thirty programs we lead each week during each semester. Other volunteers appear as guest speakers for our older students in our Extended Leadership Academy groups. The speakers give the students invaluable insight and come away from working with the groups with invaluable intrinsic rewards.
One of our speakers is Judge Shaunathan Bell of the Ninth Judicial Circuit of the State of Alabama. We are so grateful to him for making time to speak to Extended Leadership Academy groups. Judge Bell recently shared his thoughts about his work with Extended Family, “The Extended Family Programs are a wonderful and much needed outreach to some of the most distressed people in our community. Being a part of this program is a humbling experience, and it is a ministry.” We appreciate Judge Bell for recognizing our efforts to serve families, especially the children, with incarcerated loved ones and to help alleviate their struggles and keep them out of trouble.
Together, with the help of leaders like Judge Bell, we look forward to continuing to grow and reach even more at-risk children in communities across the nation. If you would like information on how to bring Extended Family programs into your community, please visit our website at www.extendedfamilyhelp.org.