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Singer John Legend’s Foundation Makes Holidays Bear-able For Children Of Incarcerated Parents

12/28/2018, 6 a.m.
Thanks to singer John Legend, 35 members of Girl Scouts Beyond Bars troop received new, huggable Build-A-Bears to help the ...
Girl Scouts with their bears outside the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women. Girl Scouts of Central Maryland

— Girl Scouts of Central Maryland’s “Beyond Bars” troop members were the happy recipients of new Build-A-Bears from singer John Legend’s FREEAMERICA foundation. The bears were distributed to the Girl Scouts Beyond Bars troop members at the second of their bi-monthly meetings on December 15, 2018 at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCIW).

Girl Scouts of Central Maryland has served 400 girls through their Beyond Bars program since the program was piloted 25 years ago. The program, initiated by a judge who contemplated the plight of the children left behind once their mothers were sentenced, provides Girl Scout programming to daughters and mothers at MCIW.

The program provides an opportunity for girls to have intimate visits with their moms while they work on Girl Scout projects together.

“It gives mom the opportunity to be a mother, but it gives the daughter the opportunity to have a mother,” remarked MCIW Warden Margaret Chippendale.

Legend said he founded FREEAMERICA “to give voice to those impacted by the criminal justice system.” He has visited jails and prisons across the country and learned about the lives and journeys of many inmates. In an effort to bring some holiday joy he partnered with Build-A-Bear to provide gifts for the children.

In the card that comes with the bears Legend said, “I hope you feel supported and loved this holiday season.”

For more information about Girl Scouts of Central Maryland’s Beyond Bars program and about the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland programming, visit: gscm.org.