Mother’s Day 2021
All mothers, regardless of incarceration status, deserve an opportunity to bond with their children. Many of the residents at A New Way of Life are mothers with a unique journey through incarceration and reentry. A part of that reentry process is reuniting with their children.
Luann is an ANWOL resident who recently reunited with her daughters, one she had not seen since she was three years old. Upon release, her daughters picked her up and they all embraced for the first time in over 22 years.
“I was levitated,” says Luann.
Luann has learned that you don’t have to be tough; it’s okay to cry and feel emotions. She is looking forward to creating memories with her daughters and grandchildren.
Tanya, an ANOWL resident, is restoring her relationships with her six children. This Mother’s Day was the first she could spend with her son Anthony in over 15 years. Tanya is committed to self-discovery and self-improvement. This commitment has allowed her to reconnect with her children, get a job and live her best life.
Our location in Montebello has offered an abundance of space that allows us to celebrate our residents in significant ways. Many of our staff, former and current residents, and their families gathered at our Montebello safe home for a Mother’s Day celebration on Saturday, May 8.
Kristen Bell recently launched a new line of CBD skincare products called Happy Dance. Happy Dance promotes the importance of self-care and massage therapists were on site to provide hand massages and products for each resident.
Toni Carter, Susan Burton’s daughter, and a team of chefs prepared lunch. The delicious meal included fried chicken, mac n’ cheese, and her famous chicken salad.
Former resident, Selena, spoke of her reentry process and the importance of reentry programs that reunite children with their mothers. Family reunification is one of the biggest challenges facing formerly incarcerated people. A New Way of Life offers formerly incarcerated people reunification support because we believe that families belong together.
Cheryl Ward, A New Way of Life Housing Coordinator, sang Grandma’s Hands by Bill Withers.
Soothed a local unwed mother
Used to ache sometimes and swell
Used to lift her face and tell her
She’d say “Baby, Grandma understands
That you really love that man
Put yourself in Jesus hands”
The event ended with each resident and their guests picking up a bag of goodies. A New Way of Life filled each bag with scarves, mugs donated by The People Pottery Project, along with slippers and soothing skincare products. In addition, the children were given backpacks with teddy bears and blankets donated by Baby2Baby and supplied by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis.
A New Way of Life celebrates currently and formerly incarcerated Mothers every day for their determination to overcome insurmountable obstacles.