Posted: Tuesday, December 22, 2015 7:11 am
McLOUD — Offenders serving time at the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center (MBCC) have created and donated 40 decorative gift boxes containing crocheted scarves and hats for foster children in the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program.
The boxes were made by offenders who are in the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Program (RSATP) and the crocheted items were knitted by women in Get Hooked, a hobby group that works on items to donate to charities and area nursing homes. Around 25 individuals worked for more than two months on the projects at the all-women facility.
The two programs teach women coping skills to deal with addiction and the importance of outreach through activates such as crocheting or knitting courses. The items created by offenders always go to local charities or nursing homes, Alyse Walker, psychological clinician at MBCC, said.
“This year the ladies decided they wanted to do something special for kids who are in foster care,” Walker said. “Many of the women in the program are mothers and wanted to help children who are in need. Their effort has been outstanding and will surprise a lot of kids who are in need of a pick-me-up this time of year.”
The boxes were delivered earlier this week to the Shawnee Youth & Family Resource Center by staff at MBCC and will be taken to children in foster care before Christmas by volunteers with the CASA organization.
CASA is a network of court appointed volunteers, who advocate for foster children in courtrooms and communities to assist in placing them in a permanent home. The volunteers offer judges information needed to ensure children’s rights and needs are being attended to while in foster care.
“There are going to be a lot of excited kids this year,” said Joani Webster, CASA director of Pottawatomie and Lincoln Counties. “I am thrilled we could be a part of this and the ladies at Mabel Bassett decided to get involved to give these children something to smile about.”
Helping deliver the boxes earlier this week was MBCC Warden Debbie Aldridge, who commended the work of the offenders who helped create the gift boxes.
“I know they put in a lot of hours to get this project done for the kids in time for Christmas,” Warden Aldridge said. “These programs continue to be a successes at our facility. The women who come out of them learn hard work, responsibility and accountability, which are characteristics some of them have never had before. I have seen this lead to an overall behavioral change in some women, which is followed by more confidence and involvement in education and community programs.”