The Extended Family 11th annual Celebration of Life will be held this Saturday (November 8th) evening from 6:00 – 8:00, in the Chamber of Commerce meeting room, on the campus of Gadsden State Cherokee in Centre.
For additional information on Extended Family and the Extended Family for Kids program call (256) 927-7997 or visit the website www.extendedfamilysupport.org
On Saturday, Nov. 8, from 6 – 8 p.m., Extended Family is hosting its 11th Annual Celebration of Life, a free, community event at the Chamber of Commerce Meeting Room on the campus of Gadsden State-Cherokee. The evening will start with a complimentary dinner, followed by keynote speaker Commissioner Kim Thomas, head of the Alabama Department of Corrections, from Montgomery.
Commissioner Thomas has an interesting perspective on the field of corrections and the families of inmates. He believes an inmate’s journey of re-entry into society starts the day the individual enters a correctional facility.
“Our Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner is aware of the importance of a family’s involvement with the incarcerated individual,” said Laure Clemons, Extended Family founder and executive director. “He has been a supporter of Extended Family’s work with families and returning inmates for several years, and we are excited to have him at our annual event. Commissioner Thomas appreciates the opportunity to meet families impacted by incarceration.”
Clemons added, “Anyone who is interested in what is going on in the field of corrections today will want to hear Commissioner Thomas speak. Whether you are a family member of a prisoner, involved in prison ministry, a community leader or law enforcement officer, you will have a new perspective on incarceration after meeting Kim Thomas.”
Extended Family started in Centre in November 2001, and has grown to provide services for families of prisoners across the country. In 2007, Clemons created a program for children of the incarcerated, Extended Family for Kids, and has distributed that curriculum in 13 states. This year the Extended Family for Kids program is in every school in Cherokee County.
“At our Annual Celebration we will give an update on the new Extended Family for Kids programs in Cherokee County,” Clemons said. “We will also honor the community leaders who made sure children of the incarcerated in our schools were able to get Extended Family for Kids.”
“The issue of incarceration impacts so many areas of our society today,” Clemons said. “This is not just a prison issue anymore. There are children and families impacted, and we can give those families tools to make it on the outside, while their loved ones are being rehabilitated on the inside. That is what Extended Family is all about – providing tools for adults and children to use to make better choices and lead positive, joyful lives, regardless of their circumstances.”
The Extended Family Annual Celebration is open to families of prisoners, government officials, church and community leaders, those involved in prison ministry, and anyone interested in learning more about what Extended Family has to offer.
What is Extended Family?
Extended Family is a non-profit support system for families of prisoners. The purpose of Extended Family is to show prisoners’ families how to successfully adjust to a new way of life. Our Mission is to offer help and inspire hope.
When someone is sent to prison the family left behind struggles with financial, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual challenges. Through the Extended Family program family members learn how to face these challenges together, looking for solutions, and discovering services available in their community to help them through this season in their lives.
How does Extended Family help the families of prisoners?
Extended Family is a three part support system, offering monthly family meetings, a nation-wide Resource Database, and a One-on-One Networking System.
Monthly Family Meetings: Monthly family meetings are held at the Branches and led by a trained Extended Family Branch Leader. At the meeting presentations are given on community services, anger resolution, and grief recovery skills. Guest speakers share their expertise on issues pertinent to families of prisoners. Discussion topics range from what to expect at the first visit to how to work with children through this experience. The question we try to answer is, “How can we not do their time?”
Resource Database: Extended Family maintains a nation-wide resource database, referring members to services available in their communities. These resources cover financial, legal, social, and emotional issues, as well as many others.
One-on-One Networking: Connecting people in similar situations has been the foundation of the Extended Family program. Through the One-on-One Networking system family members can connect by telephone and e-mail, no matter where they live.
How do I become a member of Extended Family?
The Extended Family support system is available to anyone with a family member incarcerated in a county, state, or federal institution. Becoming a member of Extended Family is easy, and it’s free. Call 256-927-7997 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest and we will send you an information packet. Or you can download the membership form on this Web site, complete and mail it to Extended Family, P.O. Box 26, Centre, AL 35960. You will receive the Extended Family newsletters and updates on issues relevant to family members of prisoners. Your information will not be shared with any other entity. Membership privacy is strictly protected.
Is there anything that Extended Family doesn’t do?
Extended Family does not distribute funds, give marital or legal advice, or act as a personal counselor. However, at meetings of Extended Family, and through newsletters, information is given about community services available to help in many different areas of life. And, of course, sometimes it is helpful just to hear someone else say, “I understand,” and know that they really do.
How can I start an Extended Family Branch in my area?
If you or someone you know is interested in starting an Extended Family Branch in your community, contact Laure Clemons at the Extended Family home office – 256-927-7997 or email@example.com. Laure will tell you more about how to start a Branch and connect you with other Branch Leaders so you can lean first-hand what that experience is like and decide if you want to work with us to continue spreading Extended Family across the country.
How can I support the Extended Family program?
Donations are vital to the success and growth of Extended Family.
Please send your tax-deductable gifts to:
P.O. Box 26
Centre, AL 35960