Her father's drug use wreaked havoc on her family life, but a glimmer of hope arrived through Angel Tree.
Trisha was in third grade the first time her dad went to prison. He was addicted to drugs and had been making drugs in the family basement before being arrested.
Her father's addicition resulted in erratic and dangerous behaviors. He would lock Trisha and her siblings out of her house, and she would have to take care of her sisters. Her brother would steal to provide food for all the siblings. Young Trisha even saw her father put a gun to her mom's head once.
Trisha and her family didn't get to see her dad very much while he was incarcerated. He was out for a while, but eventually returned to prison on more drug charges.
A GLIMMER OF HOPE
Life is hard for the children of incarcerated parents, but it's even harder around the holidays. "We used to not get Christmas," remembers Trisha. "One year we didn't get anything for Christmas, and then in school the next day we had to write about what we got. I was the only one who didn't get anything, which made me really sad."
Amid so much darkness, she found a glimmer of hope. Her father finally did something kind for Trisha and registered her for Angel Tree®, a program of Prison Fellowship® that makes a way for incarcerated parents to send their kids a Christmas gift and a personal note.
Trisha was 9 the first time she received a present through Angel Tree. She remembers being in her grandma's apartment, where she was living at the time, when volunteers showed up with a stack of gifts. Her favorite was a baby doll.
"Angel Tree has helped our family so much," Trisha says.
The glimmer of hope delivered that Christmas shone even brighter when Trisha began attending a summer camp through Angel Tree Camping®. Through Angel Tree Camping, children of prisoners go to Christian summer camps where they can have fun, fellowship with their peers, build relationships with caring camp counselors, and experience the love of God in the great outdoors.
"Camp is so amazing. I always felt like I was the only one who went through what I did until I came to camp I met people who were like me," Trisha recalls.
At camp, surrounded by loving counselors and other kids who knew what she was going through, Trisha began opening her heart—but not just to those around her.
"That's when I found Jesus and gave my life to him," she says.
"Angel Tree has helped me a lot," Trisha says. "I keep in touch with my camp counselors and I'm able to talk to them if needed."
Her counselors made such a big impact on her life that she decided to become one herself. She has volunteered as a counselor at an Angel Tree camp where she's able to relate to the kids because she knows what they're going through. "I give them advice about Jesus and let them know they aren't alone," Trisha says.
Despite her traumatic past, Trisha has made great strides toward a bright future. And she's thankful for the role Angel Tree has played in her life. To those who support and volunteer with Angel Tree, she says, "Thanks for making kids happy."
ABOUT ANGEL TREE CAMPING
For many children of prisoners, some of the basic rites of childhood—like spending a week away at summer camp—are out of the question.
Every summer, thousands of Angel Tree children get the opportunity to attend a Christian summer camp with the help of Angel Tree churches and friends like you.
For prisoners' children, camp is a safe place to get away from their problems, experience the great outdoors, make new friends, and just be kids. But most important, at Angel Tree camp, prisoners' kids hear the Gospel.
Give the gift of camp to a prisoner's child today.
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