12-Year-Old’s Life-Changing Camp Experience Restores Relationship with Imprisoned Mother
Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree® Provides Children of Inmates with Support that Begins with a Christmas Gift and Continues All Year Long
Childhood has been hard on Angel Garcia. By the age of 11, Angel's father had died of a drug overdose, her mother was serving her third stint in prison, and Angel was responding with anger and isolation-locking herself in her room at night and getting into trouble at school during the day.
But Angel's life took on a dramatic change when Prison Fellowship volunteer Tracie Groves arranged for her to attend Calicinto Ranch, a week-long camp in San Jacinto, Texas, designed specifically for kids involved in Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree program.
Calicinto Ranch opened up a new world of experiences for Angel with programs and counseling that helped her cope with bitterness and anger. When she returned home from camp, Angel put what she learned into action.
"I called my mom and told her that I wanted to forgive her just like I want to be forgiven," said Angel.
That act of forgiveness, spurred by Angel's camping experience, was her family's first step in the healing process. Angel is now 12 years old, her mother is out of prison and back at home where she chooses to spend her time with her family—instead of on the streets.
"When Angel called and said she forgave me, it was such a blessing," said Theresa, Angel's mom. "It was like a real big load was taken off my back."
Prisoners' children are five to seven times more likely to end up in prison themselves (U.S. News & World Report, April 2002). Angel Tree works with the most at-risk children and youth in America to help break the intergenerational cycle of crime.
"Camping experiences for Angel Tree children allow the opportunity for a safe, fun environment and fellowship with kids just like them and caring adults who are positive role models," said Prison Fellowship President Mark Earley.
MEDIA NOTE: Thousands of children will attend Angel Tree camps this summer. To find an Angel Tree camper in your area, contact Kelly Wells or Amy Anderson, (770) 813-0000 or (404) 545-1855 cell.
About Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree
Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree is the only nationwide, year-round effort that reaches out exclusively to the estimated 2.3 million children in the United States whose fathers or mothers are behind bars. By mobilizing churches and organizations throughout the United States, Angel Tree provides support that begins with a Christmas gift and continues throughout the year, including mentoring and camping opportunities. Since the program's inception in 2001, more than 49,000 children have participated in Angel Tree camping.