Resource fair important

Published 10:10 pm Thursday, January 9, 2020

One aspect of incarceration that’s not often talked about is the effect of incarceration on the inmate’s loved ones.

Many people sitting in jail or prison have children at home who are wondering why their mommy or daddy isn’t able to come to their school events or tuck them in at night. Inmates may have spouses or partners who are trying to make it to the day their loved one is released. They have parents, many of whom are helping raise their grandchildren, who look forward to being able to see their child again.

When inmates are released, even if they’ve only been gone a few months, they face hardships when returning. They are trying to re-establish family relationships, get jobs back or find a new job, juggle probation requirements, pay fines and restitution, get needed items like driver’s licenses and vehicles and, in many cases, separate themselves from the people and substance abuse issues that led them down the wrong path in the first place.

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To help families that are facing or have recently faced incarceration, the Suffolk Public Library is holding a resource fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday at the ForKids center at 119 W. Constance Road. It will connect them to resources related to education, finances, jobs and more. Best of all, families can come to the event together, and there will be activities for everybody.

Adults can participate in workshops on parenting and creating their vision, and they can learn about first steps for returning citizens and their families from Virginia Organizing.

Children can enjoy crafts, story time, green screen photos, a magician, therapy dogs and more. All attendees can also meet the young authors of a book by students at a Portsmouth elementary school who have been impacted by incarceration.

This resource fair will be an invaluable one for many in the community, and we’re grateful to those who are putting it on.