Girl Scouts Beyond Bars
"My name is Mary, and I’m with the Girl Scouts. We’re here to talk to you about you and your daughters being part of our Girl Scout troop. We want to give you the opportunity to teach your daughters to be strong and confident, and along the way we plan to have some fun. Is that a deal?"
The group breaks into excited murmurs and enthusiasm builds at the idea of being able to spend more time with their daughters and participate in their Girl Scout group.
Girl Scouts Beyond Bars is a project of the Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama and Aid to Inmate Mothers. This program is modeled after other prison girl scout troops sponsored by the Girl Scouts in states across the country.
Once a month, the mothers meet to plan a project, and then there is a monthly activity the mothers and daughters do together. Meetings are just like regular scout troop meetings, except they are held inside the prison. Aside from regular meetings, the children also take field trips with AIM staff members.
In prison, time with family is precious, and Girl Scouts offers a way for mothers and daughters to bond. "I feel really bad about not being there for my girls to give them more support," says one mother. "The Girl Scout program allows us more time with our children, and also gives us a chance to help teach them values that will help make them stronger."
The Girl Scout program helps mothers learn more about their daughters and be more involved in their lives. In a recent meeting, the group learned how to deal with bullying and self-esteem issues. Several of the women acted the part of popular girls at a dance making fun of less popular girls. Then the group used discussion questions to find out how their pre-teen girls felt about the situation. They practiced another scenario with a group of girls and a "cute boy" that one of the girls liked. The mothers used the role-play exercise to get their daughters to talk about their own experiences.
How you can help
To continue to offer these girls the opportunity to grow through scouting, AIM needs donor support. Please consider making a donation or volunteer your time to help us continue this important program.