In 2013, Angela Patton, director of a program named Camp Diva, appeared in a popular TED talk, discussing a father-daughter dance her organization had helped to set up for 16 prisoners and 18 girls in the city jail in Richmond, Virginia. The story and the images from inside the jail were simple and sweet, yet moving and profound. Girls were reunited with fathers some had barely known before, and dads were able to reassess their lives and look to the future. “I just gotta break this cycle I’m in,” one of the fathers says in a Washington Post article in a moment of personal reflection following the dance. “I’m just tired of it.”
The story was picked up by a number of news outlets, including the aforementioned Washington Post article, as well as a BreakPoint commentary by Eric Metaxas, and two separate posts to this blog (here and here).
Christian recording artist J. J. Heller recently became aware of the story, and was moved to write a song about the dance with her husband, Dave.
Reconciling and restoring families like the ones at the Richmond City Jail is a major part of Prison Fellowship’s ministry. Programs like Angel Tree seek to reconnect men and women behind bars to their children, providing gifts for their kids at Christmas, camping opportunities in the summer, and mentoring services year round. And in-prison reentry programs help to equip those preparing to leave prison to be good parents to their sons and daughters.
To find out how you can be a part of reuniting families, please visit our “Get Involved” page.