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Canter for Restorative Justice Works / Get On The Bus

Community Outreach Offering Recipient March 2022

The mission at Get on the Bus is simple: keeping children and parents connected while helping them build family relationships when the parent is incarcerated.  Until 2020, Get on the Bus was a one-day event for 14 prisons in California, to reunite moms and dads in prison for an in-person visit for the day:  A day that included transportation from all over California, meals for the day, and a 4-hour visit with the parent.  At California Men’s Colony, the day ended with an ice cream social in the community, a bear, love letter and a “stay connected bag”….. all at NO cost to the families.

During the Covid 19 pandemic, life for all of us on the inside and out has looked quite different.  In-person visits were cancelled, communication from inside to the outside was difficult, as well as not knowing about the health and safety of loved ones.

During this time, we at CRJW/Get on the Bus made major efforts for the families to stay in touch.  We did a Stay Connected Program (stay connected kits for incarcerated parents and kids to keep in touch), video messaging, and this year will be our first ever Get on the Bus Hub to connect families who cannot visit in person to family zoom calls in environments that will be memorable for the outside families.  Locally, at CMC, we have done three Picture Projects.  We have photos taken of the men at CMC and our local GOTB team sends these wonderful photos, taken against a nature background, out the families.  We are the only state prison doing such a program and it is very successful!

We are so grateful for the caring and compassionate supporters who offer their time and donations to keeping kids connected to their moms and dads who may be incarcerated.  Our fingers are crossed, and we may be able to resume with the Get on the Bus event starting this Fall 2022!

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