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Healed by storytime: A nonprofit works to connect incarcerated mothers to their children through recordings

Posted at 1:24 PM, Sep 25, 2020

GATESVILLE, TX — Separated, sometimes for years at a time, thousands of mothers in prisons across Texas are separated from their children.

With mass incarceration, especially across the Lone Star State, one nonprofit is working to connect mother and child through the power of books.

"It's very difficult under normal circumstances for children to visit their parents who are incarnated because we are such a large state" explained Executive Director of the Women's Storybook Project of Texas, Jill Gonzales.

"We're small but mighty and serve quite a few children with very few resources but we would love to expand our reach and serve more children but we can only do that with more help," said Gonzales.

Women's Storybook Project of Texas connects mother in prison to their children by bringing the mother a book and recording her reading the book to her child, the nonprofit then sends both the book and the recording to the child.

Incarcerated mothers must qualify to participate by being discipline free, having children between 0-14, and having the ability to contact their children.

"Think about the connection you have to your mom and if it were missing, and that's why, that's why you should get involved because we help maintain that connect for a child who doesn't have that right now," said Gonzales.

The nonprofit, run by two staff members and over 240 volunteers, operate in 10 prisons across the state and now works at both Marlin and Gatesville.

"Last year we recorded over 1,600 moms and sent over 3,000 books," said Gonzales.

Always on the lookout for volunteers, donated funds and more books, the Women's Storybook Project of Texas is holding their fourth annual free fundraiser on September 30, 2020. Held entirely online this year, the event will be hosted by popular Texas personalities and special guests. To attend you must register online on their website at StoryBookProject.org