SOURCE: Center for Restorative Justice Works

Center for Restorative Justice Works

April 10, 2017 15:40 ET

The 17th Annual "Get On The Bus" Event: Uniting children with their mothers and fathers in prison

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - April 10, 2017) - The Center for Restorative Justice Works and the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (CDCR) are again reuniting hundreds of children with their mothers in prison on Mother's Day for the 17th Annual Get On The Bus event.

25 buses filled with more than 1,000 children and their caregivers will be traveling from San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, Central Valley, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, and Santa Rosa throughout the state on Friday, April 28th, Friday, May 12th and June 24th to visit three women's institutions; California Institution for Women in Corona, Central California Women's Facility, in Chowchilla and Folsom Women Facility in Folsom. Buses will be arriving as early as 7:45am to accommodate the maximum possible amount of visitors to these institutions. Last year, Get On The Bus, united over 1,200 children with their mothers or fathers.

According to the CDCR, approximately 200,000 children in California have an incarcerated parent and they either live with relatives or are in foster care. A lack of parent-child interaction can be detrimental to a child's development. Get On The Bus arranges and provides the affordances to reunite children with their parents in order to avoid the negative outcomes related to no parent-child interaction.

Founder, Sister Suzanne Jabro, said, "This program exists specifically for children. They are the hidden victims who are suffering especially in these stressful economic times, when families do not have the extra funds to visit. Distance is the number one reason these children have been unable to see their parents. Get On The Bus helps them to see, touch, and speak to their mother and father. They did nothing wrong. They just want to be held and loved by their mother, and they need to know that she is safe."

For most of these children, this day is the only opportunity they get to see their mother throughout the entire year. The children whose mothers are incarcerated are usually cared for by relatives, often grandparents, who are unable to make the long-distance commute or afford the traveling expenses.

Get On The Bus provides free transportation for the children and their caregivers, travel and comfort care bags for each child and caregiver, a photograph of each child with his or her mother, and meals for the day. Children will also be wearing Get On The Bus t-shirts with the names and/or business names of sponsors, donors, and supporters. The meals include breakfast, snacks on the bus, lunch at the incarceration facility, and dinner on the way home. On the trip back home, each child will receive post-even counseling and a teddy bear with a personalized letter from his or her mother. The entire program is funded by donations from churches, schools, businesses owners, family foundations, grants, and other organizations.

"We have a responsibility to bring these families together," added Sister Suzanne, who has spearheaded this even for 13 years. "A child needs to see their reflection in a mother's eyes."

Get On The Bus will also reunite children with their fathers for Father's Day. Twenty 27 buses carrying children and their caregivers will visit the following men's institutions: High Desert State prison on April 1st, Valley State Prison for Men in Chowchilla on Friday, May 12th.; California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo on Saturday, May 20th.; San Quentin State Prison on Friday, June 2nd.; Correctional Training Facility in Soledad, and Salinas Valley State Prison on Saturday, June 10th.; and Folsom State Prison on Saturday June 24th.

The media and local news broadcasters are invited to ride local buses and/or attend the institutions to do coverage on the event. Gate clearance is required.

To view highlights of last year's event, visit: www.getonthebus.us

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