SUSU In Action: Support Students In and After School
See Us, Support Us partner, POPS the Club works with teachers to provide in-school clubs for students with incarcerated parents to connect with each other, process their experiences, advocate for themselves, and also provides them with a shared meal. POPS the Club supports youth inside their schools, with clubs led by educators. Founded in 2013 by Amy Friedman and Dennis Danziger, POPS recognizes how vital it is that all educators See and Support students. Learn more about their clubs here.
POPS also has an incredible curriculum series for educators to use in schools.
"I joined POPS the Club when I was 14. My father was incarcerated, and I felt like my world was falling apart, but at POPS I was welcomed with handshakes and warm hugs from strangers. I listened to other students share their experiences of their incarcerated loved ones, and when I shared my story with my peers and POPS teachers, I felt relieved, finally able to express my emotions."
–Kat, POPS the Club Grad
After school programs can provide 1) a more confidential option for students who may not want to disclose at school about their experience, 2) a variety of environments for children with incarcerated parents to connect and grow, and 3) support for caregivers who may need options for after school care.
The Osborne Association offers two afterschool programs for youth with currently or formerly incarcerated parents.
Youth Experience Success (YES!) offers youth ages 13 to 18 life-skills workshops, case management, and recreational activities. The program follows the school semester schedule and offers a non-judgmental, supportive peer environment.
The Youth Action Council (YAC) is a diverse group of youth ambassadors ages 15 to 18 who raise awareness about the effects of parental incarceration through youth-led advocacy rooted in their personal experiences.
Mia Barksdale, current SUSU Youth Fellow and graduate of the Youth Action Council shared this:
"While in YAC, I gained a sense of community. I no longer felt like I had to hide how I was feeling at the time about having an incarcerated parent. I also learned the power of advocacy as a youth going to Albany advocating for public policies, such as Raise the Age and the Proximity bill. Advocating for the rights of youth who experience parental incarceration felt liberating, like my voice matters and has the impact to make a difference."
See Us, Support Us partner The US Dream Academy also has after school programs in 7 cities nationwide, reaching more than 700 young people and engage them in active learning through one-on-one mentoring, strong academics, and technology-driven activities and curricula. Learn more about their programs, model, and impact here.