Small Miracles in a Juvenile Detention Center

This is reposted from Prison Culture.

This was written by Girl Talk Leadership Team member, Mariame, about her experience during the self-care day event at JTDC.

People still laugh in jail… This seems a trite thing to say. However it never ceases to amaze me. I have been inside enough prisons and jails to last me a lifetime. I have always had the option to leave.

The saddest places on earth to visit are juvenile detention facilities and youth prisons. No matter how many painted murals are on the walls, no matter how many colorful works of art hang in the classrooms, they are awful places to be. When you think of the fact that young people under the age of 18 reside there, how can they be anything else?

Yet today I was reminded that people still smile in these places. I am thinking about this tonight after having spent a couple of hours at a self-care event at my local juvenile jail earlier in the day. I was speaking with a couple of the incarcerated girls and we were laughing together. I glanced over and another young woman sat stone-faced. No smile on her face.

I thought to myself: “That’s how I would be if I were locked in this place for God knows how long.” I wouldn’t be laughing. I would be sitting in a corner looking devastated. Yet for the majority of the girls today, there were smiles and there was banter. They are after all still children even if the world treats them like adults.

For a few hours this afternoon, volunteers (each an amazing woman in her own right) did yoga and aromatherapy with the girls. They offered intuitive readings and painted fingernails. They massaged the girls’ hands and spoke with them. And yes, we even laughed. Thank God for small miracles.

A Special Thanks for Making Our Self-Care Days Wonderful!

We just wanted to take a moment to thank our volunteers and donors who helped to make our self-care events at the Cook County Temporary Juvenile Center and IYC-Warrenville so wonderful and inspiring.

Thanks to the following volunteers who contributed to the JTDC self-care event!

Laura Cortez
Jessica Estrada
Molly Harris
Mariame Kaba
Deana Lewis
Caryn Moore
Emily Robinson
Christian Totty

Thanks to the following volunteers for making the Warrenville self-care event so successful!

Jill Bratt
Stacy Erenberg
Keisha Farmer-Smith
Emily Foster
LaNisa Frederick
Ashley Howard
Tanuja Jagernauth
Mariame Kaba
Deana Lewis
Shonettia Monique
Philippa Norman
Gloria Ortiz
Beatrice Scescke
Kara Schmidt
Radhika Sharma-Gordon
Christian Totty

Thanks to the following people for contributing items and gifts for the young women:

Jill Bratt
Gabriella Brown
Alison Burkhardt
Rachel Caidor
Keisha Farmer-Smith
LaNisa Frederick
Tali Halperin
Ashley Howard
Katie
Mariame Kaba
Taylor Ovca
Students at Francis Parker High School
Coya Paz
Radhika Sharma-Gordon
Jenny Vanderploeg
Michelle VanNatta
Arewa Winters and the women of S.H.A.R.E.