Baltimore— Kemba Smith Pradia, author of “Poster Child: The Kemba Smith Story,” and former federal prison inmate, will serve as keynote speaker at Girl Scouts of Central Maryland’s Beyond Bars 25th anniversary luncheon, Saturday, November 4, 2017. The luncheon will be held at La Fontaine Bleue in Glen Burnie, MD. Tickets to the event can be purchased at www.gscm.org.
Twenty-five years ago, Girl Scouts of Central Maryland partnered with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to create a parent-child visitation program at the urging of Judge Carol E. Smith who had sentenced dozens of mothers in her court. Her concern for their children began the development of the pilot for Girl Scouts Beyond Bar program (GSBB). After a successful launch in Maryland at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCIW), this one-of-a-kind program, designed to strengthen the mother-daughter bond, strengthen the self-esteem of daughters and mothers and, lessen the anxiety experienced by children of incarcerated parents, was replicated by Girl Scout councils across the country.
In 2012, government funding for the program ended; as a result, only 15 states (it had operated in as many as 30 Girl Scouts councils across the country) continued the program. GSBB has operated continuously in central Maryland for 25 years and has served more than 400 girls. Currently there are 34 girls and 23 mothers in the GSBB program at MCIW.
Twice a month girls attend troop meetings at MCIW (in Jessup, MD) with their mothers. The Beyond Bars troop members work on badges and other activities with their moms inside the prison. The girls also participate in Girl Scout activities away from the prison including camping trips, visits to museums and college tours.
The 25th anniversary luncheon is a fundraiser for this program that has positively impacted the lives of girls who have been abruptly separated from their mothers, and a celebration of this nationally acclaimed program. Kemba Smith Pradia will share her perspectives on female incarceration and the impact of programs like GSBB. For more information about the event or the keynote speaker, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.