Book drive helps nurture bond between incarcerated parents, their children

A yearlong children’s book drive coordinated by nursing students in Sigma Theta Tau international honor society is supporting the Rhode Island Department of Corrections and its efforts to help strengthen the bond between incarcerated parents and their children through books.

The students presented several boxes of children’s books this week to Rehabilitative Services representatives TeLisa Richardson, parenting coordinator, and Ken Findlay, interdepartmental project manager for the Department of Corrections in Cranston. Both Richardson and Findlay met with the students in Salve’s nursing lab.

Through its Books Beyond program, the Department of Corrections and its volunteers provide age-appropriate children’s books for the inmates to read to their children during approved visits, or for the incarcerated parents to be recorded while reading. The books and the recordings are then mailed to the children to keep.

“Maintaining positive and healthy familial bonds between children and their incarcerated parents is crucial to the children’s emotional well-being because it can reduce the negative effects children experience as a result of the parent’s absence,” Richardson said. “Preservation of this bond can also have positive effects on the rehabilitation of incarcerated parents.”

The Salve students collaborated on the project with 2017 nursing graduate Hayley Morais, who launched her charitable organization Give A Book, Make A Difference in 2009, when she was crowned Miss Massachusetts Junior National Teenager. The organization collects gently used books to donate to others in need.

“I am truly proud of the Sigma Theta Tau members for all their work in collecting donations through the past year and happy to see their work come to fruition today,” said Julie L’Europa, assistant professor in the Department of Nursing.

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