Reading to Connect

Everyone Has a Story Project

Unrestricted Endowment Fund

Getting a package in the mail is still one of the sweetest surprises somebody can come home to. It’s truly something we can all look forward to, most especially a child missing their mom.

Through the Everyone Has a Story Project, a special group of kids is getting a comforting delivery. The program gives moms in prison a chance to bond with their children by reading a book that is recorded. Mary Kay, director of the project, and her volunteers then mail the books and recordings out to the kids

The program helps incarcerated moms stay connected to their children through reading and storytelling. Mary Kay learned of a similar program in Texas and thought that with the right connections and people willing to help, this program could help women and their children in Wyoming too.

“These women are telling me they’re talking to their kids more. That’s the purpose of this program, helping these moms stay connected to their kids,” says Mary Kay. “The women are so appreciative of this program; they are blown away they don’t have to pay for any of this.”

Time to Talk

The books give moms and their kids another thing to talk about. A chance for connection. Books open that conversation. “That’s why we are doing this,” Mary Kay says.

It also keeps kids in front of books while giving the moms some quality time to connect with their children. The mothers get to pick out the books and make requests for other books they want.

“They are very intentional about the books they pick up; most children’s books have a good message,” says Mary Kay.

Sometimes the books are a way for a mom to reach out to a child she has not heard from. “I’m not giving up,”’ one mom told Mary Kay. She has sent books and recordings to her kids five times. “She hasn’t heard back yet, but we don’t want her to stop trying,” says Mary Kay. She is going to keep trying to talk to her kids and it’s a way to show them she cares.

Mary Kay feels strongly that these women may be in prison because of a wrong turn, but that doesn’t make them bad people. “Each person deserves dignity to tell their story,” she says.

Thanks to your support of the Wyoming Community Foundation, this program is helping moms stay connected with their children.

Volunteers L to R: Mary Kay Huck, Lisa Barela, Linda Malm, Donna Levengood, Mirna Ramos