March 14, 2019 (HARRISBURG, Pa.) – Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA), has been awarded a $175,000 grant from the Williamsport Lycoming Community Fund at the First Community Foundation Partnership (FCFP) of Pennsylvania to offer the Girl Scouts Beyond Bars (GSBB) program to girls, and their incarcerated mothers, at the State Correctional Institution-Muncy (SCI-Muncy) located in Lycoming County. This grant award is the single largest programmatic donation GSHPA has received since its inception.
“We are proud to invest in programs that support the most vulnerable in our communities,” said Jennifer D. Wilson, President and CEO of FCFP. “If the Foundation can help girls, whose mothers are imprisoned, build the kinds of skills they need to avoid incarceration, entire generations can be affected.”
Women incarcerated at SCI-Muncy typically have received multi-year sentences; their daughters lose access to them for years at a time. GSBB reunites girls with their mothers through the Girl Scout experience, forging new ways of engaging, learning to make good decisions, developing leadership skills, and breaking intergenerational cycles.
“Building the mother-daughter bond through Girl Scout programming allows girls to learn positive decision-making and leadership skills, thus avoiding their mothers’ mistakes,” said Nancy L. Butts, Lycoming County President Judge and CJAB Chairman. “Mothers also benefit from being troop leaders and the bond they build with their daughters reduces the chance of being incarcerated again.”
Under the structure of the GSBB programs, girls can participate in traditional troop activities such as pursuing badges, exploring creative projects, engaging in community service projects, and learning STEM-related skills. Mothers can serve as mentors and leaders to their daughters, while gaining communication skills and learning to interact with their daughters in a supportive and positive environment.
The First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania is the lead funder through the Williamsport Lycoming Community Fund grant, which covers a three-year pilot program with specific skills, outcomes and participation benchmarks included in the award guidelines. SCI-Muncy staff and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is committed to supporting the implementation of the program. The proven GSBB model is based on an existing program being offered in York County, PA, funded by that local community’s United Way, several foundations and local individual donors.
The grant award covers various start-up related functions of the program, along with ongoing activities. Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania is continuing to pursue additional fundraising efforts targeted specifically at underwriting the costs of the GSBB program at SCI-Muncy.
For more information about the GSBB program and how to participate, please contact Allison Meckley, Program Director, at email@example.com.