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First Steps For Families First Steps For Families With The Special Circumstances

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 8:31
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San Angelo, Texas (February 14, 2017):- At First steps for families created by Robert Smith in San Angelo, Texas began helping individuals and families cope with the special circumstances and difficulties that arise when one or more family members enter into, are held in, or leave the judicial system regardless of the circumstances that led to their incarceration. We are a non-profit corporation organized in the state of Texas under the laws and regulations that govern 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporations. began modestly in the summer of 2007 when they were invited to participate in a neighborhood rally to promote drug free families with Saint Joseph’s church at the newly constructed Kirby Park. received this invitation because of our connections members of Julie Green’s Through God Comes Justice Ministry in the Tom Green County Jail. At this time, Mike taught Bible classes in the jail and had come to know of many of the particular needs of the incarcerated and their families. Penny, however, was teaching young children at Stephen F. Austin elementary school and not yet involved in the Jail ministry but, several of her student’s had a parent, brother, sister or other family member or guardian in the justice system. As a result of this exposure at such a young age these children were learning, tragically, that they could expect to grow up and go to jail just like their parents, brother or sister. So sadly, we heard children say, “When I grow up I am going to be in jail just like my Daddy!”  And often these children would tell Penny that Mom or Dad was arrested last night and that they are now living with an Aunt, Grandparent, or older sibling.

From these experiences realized the dire situations in which these young students and their families lived. They discovered, upon further examination, the great multi-generational engine that drives this terrible cycle of crime and poverty and we wondered what if anything could be done to help the children and their parents break free from its grasp.

As talked to the parents, grandparents, siblings and other family members who were caught up in the cycle, none wanted to be their situation and all of them believed that they had no choice but to play the hand they had been dealt. Those in jail would tell us that God saved their lives by sending them to jail, “If I hadn’t gone to jail, I would be dead of {gang violence, drugs, drinking, family violence…} God saved my life by putting me in jail where I {got sober, clean, found Jesus…}.”  Those about to be released, however, would voice their fears, “I don’t know what is going to happen. There’s nobody out there for me.”

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First steps for families
Robert Smith


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