Mass incarceration affects not just those convicted of crimes but also their loved ones left behind. Our community experiences this loss as a “shared sentence.” Stigma and trauma are part of the fabric of the lives of 1 in 14 children in America who have faced this kind of separation. And yet the pain of the prison system for those left behind remains invisible. POPS the Club exists to serve teens who are enduring this pain.
POPS the Club transforms shame and stigma into hope and healing for teens who are struggling with the Pain of the Prison System. In weekly club meetings, young people with loved ones in prison, jail and detention discover they are not alone. In the sacred space that is a POPS club meeting, members create community, share their stories, and to listen others'. We break bread, make art, write, engage in mindfulness exercises, learn from guest speakers, and publish and perform our stories and poems.
Most students who attend POPS the Club meetings have dealt, or are dealing with, the incarceration of a parent, sibling, other family member, or a friend. Some have themselves experienced incarceration.
The POPS curriculum focuses on self-expression (writing, drawing, photography, performance); self-healing (mindfulness); and community engagement (sharing questions and concerns, listening to speakers, speaking to middle schoolers, forums and others). POPS stories and poems are published in an annual award-winning anthology and regularly published on The Good Men Project.
Since launching in early 2013, POPS has grown from a single club at Venice High School in Los Angeles to schools across Los Angeles, Pennsylvania, Atlanta and New York, and our expansion will continue. Your support is critical to our continued success.
Your donations help us to provide a weekly lunch for each club member; to recruit, train and support volunteers and club sponsors; to enhance our curriculum; to create events featuring our students; to publish students' writings and artwork; and to provide leadership training opportunities for students and graduates.
We thank you sincerely for your contribution to POPS the Club!