Across the country, 1.7 million children—half of them under the age of 10—have a parent in prison, according to the advocacy group The Sentencing Project. Girls with incarcerated mothers face particular obstacles, but Girl Scouts believe that lack of access to leadership development programs shouldn't be among them.
The Girl Scouts Beyond Bars (GSBB) program was established in Arizona in 1994 and, along with several other councils, has grown to serve thousands of girls across the country. GSBB equips girls ages 5 to 17 whose mothers are incarcerated with the tools they'll need to succeed, while also strengthening the mother/daughter bond through regular visits.
Mothers and their daughters take an active leadership role in the planning and implementation of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, a process that fosters life skills development and personal growth. After release, parents and daughters can continue to participate in troop meetings in their communities, making Girl Scouting a consistent and supportive presence in their lives.
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