THE POST-SIGNAL / Steve Bandy
Russell and Christine Roseberry, founders of InnerFaith Prison Ministry and Little Lambs Outreach, spoke to members of the Crowley Lions Club Tuesday of their work with inmates and inmates’ children. From left are Russell Roseberry, Lions Club member Ann Mire, Christine Roseberry and Club President Keith Frederick.
Inmate, family outreach program explained during Lions’ meeting
For 40 of the 45 years they have been married, Russell and Christine Roseberry have been in and out of the state’s prisons.
Russell founded InnerFaith Prison Ministry, Inc., 40 years ago, sharing the message of hope and restoration to inmates and their families, as well as those who are not incarcerated.
In 1994, the couple founded Little Lambs, an outreach of InnerFaith Prison Ministry reaching out to the children of inmates all year long.
The goal and ultimate purpose of Little Lambs is to help a child regain his self-worth and to let him or her know that they are valued and loved and to restore the family unit that has been destroyed by crime, the couple explained.
“There are 100,000 children that belong to an incarcerated parent — or two — in Louisiana,” Russell said. “And statistics have proven that 69 percent of all inmates’ children will end up in the prison system.
“Our goal and desire is to bring healing, forgiveness and restoration and prayerfully change this statistic. We have to reach this next generation.”
Christine explained some of the ways Little Lambs provides for the children.
“At Christmas time, we have a big party where kids and their caretakers come and we have a meal, door prizes and each child is given gifts,” she said. “Most of all, ther are loved on and reminded that they’re not forgotten during the Christmas season.”
The group also staged a back-to-school event for participants where kids come to get book sacks and school supplies to start the new school year.
“We usually have that in a gymnasium, but, because of COVID-19, we’re having a ‘drive-thru’ event this year,” Christine explained.
One of the most looked-forward-to events during the year is the Family Fun Day, which provides a child the opportunity to spend an entire day with their incarcerated parent.
“The day consists of games, door prizes, meals, gifts, quality time, fun restoration, healing and forgiveness for both the child and the inmate,” she explained.
During a short video, footage of one of these in-prison events reflected some of the emotional reunions of parents and their children for the Fun Day event.
Each child involved with the Little Lambs program receives a $10 gift card on their birthday along with a phone call from a “caring caseworker,” Christine said.
“We also like to provide a $1,000 scholarship to one of our Little Lambs who is graduating high school and going to college or trade school,” she continued. “We want to be able to help them to achieve their dreams and be successful.”
The couple explained that the program is dependent on public donations. To make a donation, visit www.innerfaithpm.com or text 337-706-9797.