February 24, 2014
We have just enough time to prepare for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. No, I am not referring to shopping for presents, choosing cards, and perhaps making restaurant reservations. There is just enough time to prepare for Get On The Bus.
Get On The Bus brings children and their caregivers from throughout the state of California to visit their mothers & fathers in prison. An annual event, Get On The Bus offers free transportation for the children and their caregivers to the prison. Each child is provided a travel bag, a photo with his or her parent, and meals for the day (breakfast, snacks, lunch at the prison, and dinner). On the trip home, a teddy bear with a letter from their parent and post-event counseling.
This project began when mothers who had been transferred from Southern California to the (then) new women’s prison in Chowchilla. One result was that it became very difficult to impossible for their children to visit them. Sr. Suzanne Steffen and Sr. Suzanne Jabro chartered a bus to take 17 children (with their caregivers) to visit on Mother’s Day 2000. Each year there have been more buses, from more places, going to more facilities. Last year 47 buses took 1237 children to visit their parents in state and federal women’s and men’s prisons throughout California.
Each year several buses are organized here in the San Joaquin Valley to reunite children with their parents incarcerated elsewhere. Getting a bus to a prison requires a lot of help, requiring the coordination of
- the bus
- teddy bears
- travel bags (at the beginning of the trip) and “stay connected” bags (for the trip home)
- helping families with security clearance and other issues
- and much more.
If you think you would like to help, give me a call at (559) 488-7474 or email me at [email protected]