In keeping with his message of the importance of education, Sheriff Woody held a Back to School Cook Out for 15 children of residents at the Richmond City Justice Center this morning. Hair-cuts, games, and structured parent/child relationship building exercises were provide to both child and parent alike, as well as a lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs.
“Education is so important. Education is what can keep a person from going down the wrong path and ending up in here,” said Sheriff Woody. “These kids are already at a disadvantage because they have a parent who is incarcerated. As Sheriff, my main duty is to run a secure jail, but I believe I have a moral duty to the residents here as well – to make sure that when they leave this facility, that they do so rehabilitated and ready to contribute to the society that they are returning to. Part of that is making sure that they have the opportunity to see their child(ren), and that their children, regardless of the fact that one of their parents may be incarcerated, are prepared for success, including in the class room.”
Over the past two weeks, employees with the Richmond City Sheriff’s Office dug into their own pockets and donated dozens of notebooks, multiple backs of crayons and markers, pencils, pens, and construction glue. The supplies were then stuffed into backpacks provided thanks to Tim Cole with STEP Richmond. The kids also received brand new shoes to head back to school with, thanks to Jonathan Cotton, owner of The Good Feet Store located in Short Pump, Virginia.
Richmond Family Fatherhood Initiative, a consistent partner with the Richmond City Sheriff’s Office Program’s Department, was also on hand to provide structured relationship exercises between father’s and their children. Programs Coordinator Anthony Mingo and Clarence Harris led the men and children in communication and relationship development activities, in addition to 8-weeks of fatherhood classes.