Overcoming Barriers, Adding Value to People's Lives.
27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.
The purpose of the Fund, is to provide hope and encouragement to people impacted by incarceration in Kingston. This includes offenders behind the walls and the families who love them who live in the community.
I not only believed that there is hope for families of prisoners, I believe that each and every prisoner, child and family can reach their vast potential when they are given the proper support and encouragement.
I know this because there was a time when hope for my future was in question. At 2 years old, I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, it was predicted that I would never walk, talk, read, write or go to a regular school and it was suggested to my parents that I be institutionalized.
At that time and for many years afterward people wondered, was there any hope for Terry Harris? And through the grace of God, through the support I received from my community and through perseverance, I not only survived but thrived.
I believe prisoners, their families and children in particular, deserve the same chances and support that I received. But they don’t receive it because the vast majority of society isn’t aware that they even exist.
When we think of victims of crime we think of people who have their ID stolen, victims of rape, people who’s loved ones have been murdered. But families and in particular, children of prisoners are victims of crime, too.
The fear of being stigmatized and judged combined with the perception that, prisoners deserve what they get causes many families to suffer in silence below the radar of public scrutiny.
The Terry Harris Endowment Fund seeks to restore the dignity of people impacted by incarceration by empowering agencies who work in this field to provide: social, recreational, spiritual and economic opportunities which otherwise would not be able to take part in.
For example, there may be the child of a prisoner who wants to go to camp or play hockey, but incarceration has robbed them of the resources to do so, the fund could help with that.
There may be a prisoner who upon release, gets a job at a construction site but needs work boots, the fund could help with that.
My ultimate dream would be to be able to fund the entire post secondary education of families of prisoners, so that if an offender or the child of a offender wanted to go to Queens, St Lawrence or RMC, it would 100% paid for. It would put their life on a completely different trajectory.
But between now and then there is allot of work to be done to change the attitude of society toward people impacted by incarceration. Very often if you have committed a horrible crime or you are related to someone who has, you are considered a leper of society. People think of you as, diseased, despised, as a monster and an outcast.
You can also make a difference! Thanks for joining us today. A brochure is attached below and you can make a donation towards Terry’s Endowment by clicking the donate button at the top of the page. We thank you for supporting Families of Prisoners in the Kingston area.