Making season bright for children of the inmates

mcneir | 12/22/2011, 10:55 a.m.

Last Thursday, Dec. 16, local attorney Kionne L. McGhee gave a helping hand to Santa by rounding up friends and supporters who donated several hundred toys and games for local children. But these children have the added burden of having parents who are currently behind bars in our states prisons and jails. The effort to help these children, spearheaded by McGhee, was done in collaboration with Children of Inmates, a local non-profit organization whose stated mission is reaching out, re-building and reconnecting lives. More than 15,000 South Florida children have parents in jail or in state or federal prisons parents whose actions have left their children with a confusing and uncertain example of what it means to be an adult. Incarceration has severe unseen consequences for families and friends. Its the second year that McGhee has worked to make Christmas a happier time for both children and their incarcerated parents. But theres more to this picture. By December 22nd, over 300 children will have had the chance to visit an incarcerated parent and have a holiday visit. The visits are a fundamental part of the Children of Inmates programs. Ten facilities will be visited this year. This program and these efforts are so important because often times the children of those in prison are forgotten about or left behind, said Judge Stacey D. Glick. Initiatives like this show these children that someone cares about them and helps them make it through the holidays. McGhee says we must all play our part in taking care of the children in our communities. The children mingled among over 150 supporters and donators to secure their business cards. They will be sending thank-you notes at a later date. A total of 500 toys and games were collected by the end of the evening. The event was held at the News Lounge in Miami's 55th Street Station. Shellie Solomon serves as the executive director for Children of Inmates. Find out how you can help by visiting www.childrenofinmates.org. By D. Kevin McNeir kmcneir@miamitimesonline.com