Stories of Impact: Girls Embracing Mothers

Nearly half a million children in Texas have at least one parent impacted by the criminal legal system.

Recognizing parental incarceration as a critical social determinant of health in children, the Addy Foundation and Girls Embracing Mothers (GEM) have partnered together to support school-aged girls, whose mothers are in prison, to break the cycle of incarceration and to lead successful lives with vision and purpose.

Using a two-generation (2Gen) approach to building family well-being (intentionally and simultaneously working with children and adults in their lives together), GEM was established to empower justice-impacted girls to make positive life choices by developing a strong sense of self.

GEM enhances peer understanding and builds community among girls through their shared experiences.

Our work and programs focus on three main areas:

  • Providing year-round workshops and an annual summer camp for girls with incarcerated mothers to enhance their confidence and self-esteem, discover their leadership and communication strengths, establish cognizance of health and wellness, and build positive relationships.
  • Building the mother-daughter bond through monthly enhanced visitation between girls and their mothers in prison which include creative arts therapy, shared meals, and facilitated discussions to help reduce trauma, improve the child’s response to incarceration, and reduce recidivism among parents.
  • Preparing incarcerated mothers for re-entry through skills-based training, parenting and healing justice workshops, and transitional support services.

In June of 2022, GEM held its fifth annual Summer Camp at the Girl Scout’s STEM Center of Excellence at Camp Whispering Cedars. GEM girls attended a Dallas Mavericks mini-basketball training, along with several empowerment workshops, in addition to hiking, swimming, and making s’mores!

At camp, girls thrive physically, emotionally, and intellectually and are inspired to discover their talents in a safe and supportive all-girl setting.

Children are the most precious treasure a community can possess – in them are the promise and guarantee of the future. The Addy Foundation and GEM are working together to unlock that treasure by ensuring that justice-impacted girls have the love, tools, and sense of purpose needed to reach their full potential!  

Brittany K. Barnett, Founder & President