One of the hottest seats to the best event in Austin… and then suddenly COVID-19 changed everything about Women’s Storybook of Texas’ Annual Fundraising Luncheon except – the need of children with incarcerated moms. Children already experiencing challenges, are now isolated by a pandemic. WSP event chairs Mary Ellen Borgelt and Margene Beckham are prepared to meet this need by transforming WSP’s annual luncheon into an exceptional online event.
“I’ve been active many years in the state and national lawyers’ auxiliaries”, said Mary Ellen. “As lawyers’ spouses, we are focused on increasing respect for the legal system in young people. The Women’s Storybook Project, though, reaches even further — into families, who are suffering the consequences of prison time for mothers. Some have even entered prison in the midst of pregnancy. Their newborn and children are then somehow cared for by others.
The personal outreach by WSP to these precious children through literature and a mother’s voice is of inestimable value.Mary Ellen Borgelt
The personal outreach by WSP to these precious children through literature and a mother’s voice is of inestimable value. My appreciation has grown also for the sense of self-worth it is giving the mothers and their children, who say, mainly, they just want their children to know they love them — and will always love them.
I said yes to chairing this year’s event because Margene, Luncheon Co-Chair, the founder Judith and our WSP Executive Director Jill are so dedicated to its success and full of purpose. All whom I’ve met who are involved in the WSP are very inspiring, special people!”
“Five years ago, when I was first introduced to the Women’s Storybook Project, I was drawn in by its mission”, said Margene. “Its focus is to benefit the children, the children of incarcerated mothers. We all need to be loved and connected and that is what this program embodies. We connect these children to their mothers through the joy of reading. Our volunteers meet with the mothers in the prisons to record the stories the mothers read, upload them to a file, then send the recording with the book to the child. The children may listen to the recording of their mother’s voice over and over loving, reassuring and encouraging them from miles away.
This program not only builds relationships today, but it aids in the development of tomorrow’s generation.Margene Beckham
The numbers of incarcerated women continue to grow as does the number of children affected. These children experience not only the loss of their mother from the home, but fear, anxiety and loneliness during the long wait for her to return home again. Studies show that without intervention, children of incarcerated parents are more likely to become involved in a criminal lifestyle. This program not only builds relationships today, but it aids in the development of tomorrow’s generation.
Because of the pandemic, our volunteers are not allowed to return to meet with the mothers in the prisons. During this time, we write letters to the mothers to encourage and support them and ask them to send us book titles to send to their children. We send the books enclosing a handwritten note from their mother. We receive notes from the caregivers thanking us and sharing positive responses from the children. Please join us in providing this lifeline of hope for these very, special children.”
Interested in volunteering? Complete our volunteer inquiry form here and we will be in touch.