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Volunteers give returning citizens a day of fun

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. –  It’s been an agonizing separation for the women living in this halfway house. But recently – a long awaited family reunion.

“It’s amazing anyone would do something like this for inmates,” inmate Kerresa Coffman said. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen my family. This means a lot to us.”

This day, they were surrounded with people who see their value and remind them of their worth.

“We give our participants hope because without it we are lost,” one volunteer said.

This event was a collaboration between the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and TEEM, an organization that helps break the cycle of incarceration through education and personal development.

“That’s exactly what we hope. We hope to create a sense of normalcy,” TEEM Executive Director Kris Steele said. “We give that promise that brighter days are ahead. And there will be more of these days ahead for the parent and child.”

From free food trucks to obstacle course inflatables, they were given a much-needed day of fun.

“Due to COVID, it put real restrictions on all of us,” inmate Tyler Williams said. “Being able to have this opportunity, we are so thankful for the volunteers who were here to let us enjoy our family. It’s like a regular day.”

Among the volunteers, the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“We are in the business of smiles,” Community Relations VP Christine Berney said.

Rumble, the Thunder Girls and the Thunder Drummers were among the crowd favorites.

“It’s really been such a wonderful day to see moms and their kids reunited,” Berney said.

These volunteers spent a full day investing in people who often suffer from poverty of hope.

“When you don’t have hope, you have nothing left,” one volunteer said. “But as long as you have hope, you know tomorrow is a better day.”

Last Modified on Jul 14, 2021
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