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Contact: Tami De La Fuente/Marianita K. Paddock
1-800-392-4340, ext. 1277 or ext. 1207
713-778-4604 or 713-707-7190 (pagers)

Largest Girl Scout Council in Texas Receives Funding To Expand Girl Scouts Beyond Bars Program

HOUSTON--TX (April 22, 2003): Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council will be receiving $40,000 of a federal grant to Girl Scouts of the USA from the Department of Justice to support and expand the Girl Scouts Beyond Bars (GSBB) program at the Lucile Plane correctional facility in Dayton, Texas.

Currently operating in 30 sites nationwide, Girl Scouts Beyond Bars was first established by the Girl Scouts in Maryland in 1992. The goal of this mother-daughter prison visitation program is to reduce the chances that the daughters of incarcerated women will end up in similar situations. It also helps rebuild mother-daughter bonds and gives the incarcerated women a chance to build their own sense of self-worth.

Studies show that children with incarcerated parents are four to six times more likely than their peers to become incarcerated. They are also more likely to experience anxiety, depression, aggression, attention disorders, truancy, and teen pregnancy.

Through this program, Girl Scouts of the USA hopes to break this disastrous and heart-breaking cycle. "This innovative program effects incarcerated mothers and their Girl Scout daughters in measurable ways,” says Mary Vitek, chief executive officer of the San Jacinto Council. “For a short time twice a month, we change the Lucile Plane facility into one of the happiest places in southeast Texas, all the while boosting the morale of girls and their moms who can't be together everyday."

The money will be used to expand the Girl Scouts' existing program at the Plane facility by offering contemporary issues programming in addition to traditional Girl Scout activities. The contemporary issues curriculum is designed to empower girls to deal positively with the adverse situations they face.

Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council is the second largest Girl Scout Council in the nation, serving more than 55,000 girls and nearly 14,000 volunteers in 21 southeast Texas counties. For girl registration, volunteer, and program information, call or click at 713-292-0300 or www.gssjc.org.

GSSJS Pluralism Statement
Embracing and promoting pluralism is an integral part of every activity and plan of Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, not disconnected or separate projects. Only individuals willing to accept and be educated about the basic tenet that Girl Scouting is for all girls may serve in volunteer leadership or staff positions.

Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council l Brand Management & Fund Development Department
3110 Southwest Freeway l Houston, TX 77098