EFry’s volunteer-driven Storybook Program is our most popular in-prison program. It connects incarcerated parents and children through the power of shared stories. We are fortunate to receive many wonderful letters from both participants and their children’s guardians telling us how a simple recording of a parent reading to their child can maintain and even form positive familial relationships when a parent cannot be present due to incarceration. Below is one such letter.
I would like to write about the amazing experience that the EFry storybook program has provided for my family and me.
Without having the regular ability to be with my son physically, I wanted a way to be connected with him while I was away. I stumbled upon a poster that explained the EFry society and their wonderful Storybook Program which took place inside the prison on a weekly basis. I like that it promotes children’s literacy, as well as bonding between parent and child. I attended my first session with excitement and have since been there every time possible.
The program has allowed my son, who was two months old when I started, to grow with the sound of my voice. Due to distance and other circumstances, I was not able to see him until just shy of his first birthday. When I was able to set eyes on him and hold him for the first time, he recognized my voice and immediately knew who I was because of the books that he had been listening to and looking at. The comfort he exhibited was undoubtedly because of this incredible program being run by EFry.
The EFry Storybook Program is both brilliant and unique. You are able to choose a book that is age appropriate and the volunteer attending records your voice while you read. Once you have finished, it is then sent along with the book itself to the child or children that might otherwise be lost through no fault of their own.
In closing, I would like to stay that I am very thankful to the EFry society and its remarkable volunteers. The joy I have been able to take away from this, as well as the pleasure my son has received and will continue to receive from these books is priceless.
EFry operates the Storybook Program at prisons throughout the Lower Mainland and has shared our program with other organizations so it can be offered at institutions in other regions. While it benefits both parents and children, our key focus for Storybook is on the benefits it creates for the children, so it is the only EFry program offered in both women’s and men’s prisons.
If you are interested in volunteering with a Storybook Program in your area, please contact Chapa Pinnaduwa at (604) 520-1166. Donations in support of book purchases are always welcome. To earmark your gift for books, please note your preference in the comments window of the donation form.