Prisoner’s Daughter from N.C. Recognized for Overcoming Adversity

AUG. 16 in N.C. Prison: Taylorsville’s Scottie Barnes to Receive Angel Tree Star of Victory Award at Camp for 50 Prisoners’ Children and Their Dads

For the 2.7 million children of prisoners in America, life is full of obstacles. These children are five times more likely to live in poverty than other children, and they’re also at a higher risk for emotional and behavioral problems. But some, like 67-year-old Taylorsville resident Scottie Barnes, have overcome these difficulties and given selflessly to other families affected by incarceration.

Saturday, Aug. 16, at Avery Mitchell Correctional Institution in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, Prison Fellowship, the world’s largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families, will honor Barnes of Forgiven Ministry with its annual Angel Tree Star of Victory Award—an award recognizing the courage and accomplishments of a person who has overcome the adversity of a parent’s incarceration. It will present the award to Barnes at a “One Day with God” camp—a concept Barnes herself founded 14 years ago—where some 50 children will enjoy activities that bring reconciliation to the parent and child and allow them to experience God’s unconditional love.

While Barnes was growing up in western North Carolina, her father rotated in and out of jails and prisons in the southeast. After one of his prison stints, he never returned home. His six-year-old daughter realized she was a responsibility her father did not want, and she struggled with this stigma for the next 35 years.

Barnes searched for her father several times and prayed fervently that God would restore his heart. Finally, she located her father in an Atlanta prison in 1966 when she was 20 years old.

Barnes believes God began to work in her own heart, and forgiveness started to take place. At the age of 41, she finally heard her father say, “I love you,” something she had always longed for. Barnes says her prayers were answered when her father became a Christian before his death in prison.

In 1995, Barnes had the first opportunity to share her story in a North Carolina prison. In 2000, she began Forgiven Ministry, and its “One Day with God” camps began two years later. Lately, Barnes has founded a hospitality house near Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville, feeding and ministering to families who visit their incarcerated loved ones. She has also begun a children’s center inside the prison’s visitation room, where children take part in activities and positive programming with trained mentors and other children of prisoners.

“For many years, Prison Fellowship has been deeply impressed by Scottie Barnes’ determination to overcome challenges and to serve others,” said Prison Fellowship President and CEO Jim Liske. “We honor Scottie’s achievements and hold her up to today’s children of prisoners as an inspiration and an example of God’s power to completely restore lives. Through her life story and the program she founded, she has a powerful message for children with a mom or dad behind bars: God loves you, you are not forgotten and you have enormous potential.”

About Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree
Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree is the only nationwide, year-round effort that reaches out exclusively to the 2.7 million children in America with a father or mother behind bars. By mobilizing churches and organizations throughout the United States, Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree works to provide prisoners’ children with Christmas gifts and much more by encouraging the local church’s year-round involvement in the lives of these children.  

About the Angel Tree Star of Victory Award
Prison Fellowship awards the Angel Tree Star of Victory Award annually to the person who best exemplifies the courage and determination necessary to overcome the adversity of a parent’s incarceration, without regard to whether he or she has personally benefited from Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree program. Award recipients have reached a level of achievement, proving that the incarceration of a parent need not erase a child’s hopes for the future. The inaugural Star of Victory Award was presented in 2012 to Laura Kaeppeler, the reigning Miss America.

MEDIA NOTE: Media are invited to cover the Angel Tree Star of Victory Award and “One Day with God” camp on Aug. 16 at Avery Mitchell Correctional Institution. Media should RSVP to DeMoss by Aug. 14. On the day of the event, media must arrive no later than 8:45 a.m. and bring a working press credential and photo ID to obtain security clearance. To learn more about the day’s media opportunities, please contact: Michelle Farmer, 770.813.0000 / or Anna Hutsell, 770.813.0000 /