George Kaiser Family Foundation offers matching grant for Girl Scouts Beyond Bars

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Updated: 6/10/2013 11:12 am Published: 6/10/2013 11:10 am

There are more than 4,600 children under age 18 with a mother incarcerated in Oklahoma correctional facilities.

Oklahomans can help reunite these children with their incarcerated mothers and double the impact of their gift to the Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program at Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma because of a $50,000 matching grant from George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF).

From now until Wednesday, July 31, GKFF will match new and increased donations to Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000. The funds will support Girl Scouts Beyond Bars, a special focus program designed to not only reunite daughters with their incarcerated mothers but also strengthen the entire family and provide skills for re-entry and transition back into a community and family setting.

“Oklahoma has the highest rate of female incarceration in the nation,” said Ken Levit, Executive Director of GKFF. “Our foundation is focused on breaking the cycle of poverty for Tulsans, and this program ensures that the cycle of incarceration of women and their children is broken while instilling in these young children a sense of courage, confidence and character.”

Girl Scouts Beyond Bars addresses girls facing the fear, anger, loneliness and depression threatening their ability to reach their full potential after a parent’s incarceration. The program provides best practice curriculum that fosters positive relationships between mothers and children and supplies critical life skills to all involved. Staff, volunteers, mentors and community partners have come together to address this issue utilizing a century of philosophies practiced by Girl Scouts since 1912.

“Parents who go to prison do not suffer the consequences alone,” said Sheila Harbert, chief community outreach officer with Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma. “Children of incarcerated parents are more likely to drop out of school, engage in delinquency and subsequently be incarcerated themselves. In stark contrast, zero percent of the girls who have fully participated in the Beyond Bars program since it started 10 years ago have been incarcerated as adults.”

To contribute to the matching grant, visit or call (918) 745-5201.

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