"There are currently 2.7 million children in the United States with a parent in prison. Statistics show that those children have twice the risk for developing dysfunctional problems, like depression, drug use, or criminal activity. Learn more about programs helping to stop this like Mothers in Charge.
The stakes are so high. There are currently 2.7 million children in the United States with a parent in prison. Statistics show that those children have twice the risk for developing dysfunctional problems, like depression, drug use, or criminal activity.
That’s why people like Dorothy Johnson-Speight are so important. The Founder and National Executive Director of Mothers In Charge, Dorothy is a strong presence with a soft-spoken voice. I first met her during our Listen & Learn tour in September, in which some of my teammates and I met with individuals whose organizations help our youth and their families.
“We must work as a community to end senseless acts of violent crime,” Dorothy said then; we all sat up a little straighter in our chairs as we listened to Dorothy share how her son was murdered over a parking space. While grieving the loss of her son, she met countless other mothers who had experienced similar losses, and together they founded Mothers in Charge to place an emphasis on education and intervention-based strategies to reduce violence in Philadelphia.
An established and well-respected advocacy group, Mothers In Charge fights for families affected by violence and provides counseling and grief support services for families when a loved one has been murdered. Mothers In Charge is a non-profit organization and, true to its name, it consists of mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sisters, all committed to preventing another mother from having to experience a senseless act of violence.
Mothers In Charge works with schools, youth and faith-based and community organizations, as well as government agencies. They have been so successful that other affiliate chapters have been established in Harrisburg, New York, New Jersey, Kansas City, St. Louis, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Palo Alto.
Dorothy has created an innovative educational program called “Thinking for a Change,” that works directly with juvenile offenders, some of whom are incarcerated for murder.
Thinking for a Change is a cognitive skills development program that addresses behavioral skills and decision making, especially around coping mechanisms. It addresses the severe anger and pain that plagues many juvenile offenders and that could have been a contributing factor to their violent actions. By working hands-on with these offenders, Mothers In Charge helps reduce recidivism rates and prepares released offenders for re-entry back into their communities.
Mothers In Charge has also established Women Working For A Change, an onsite job-training program for women who were formerly incarcerated."