The San Diego Sheriff’s Department and Reading Legacies help keep inmates and their families connected.
SANTEE, Calif .– The power of reading creates a special bond between parents and their children, but what happens when mothers and fathers are sent to jail? In this Zevely area, I went to Santee Lakes for a Father’s Day redemption story.
âA day at the park here at Santee Lakes,â said Kory Russell. On this Father’s Day, Kory is going to enjoy the gift of fatherhood with her two daughters Danny and Kaelie.
âA few years ago I was in a pretty dark place,â Kory said. Drug addiction led Kory to a series of business heists, but even when he was behind bars he still remained connected to his daughters.
I watched a video made by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and a nonprofit program called Reading Legacies. He showed Kory reading to his daughters in the East Mesa Detention Center.
“Hi girls, read a book with dad again, okay are you ready?” Kory said in the video.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is teaming up with a nonprofit program called Reading Legacies, which allowed Kory to read bedtime stories from the East Mesa Detention Center. Kory gives credit to a Sheriff’s adviser who guided him through reintegration programs, including Reading Legacies and Thinking for a Change. He says his advisor was tough but fair.
Kory says that these two programs triggered the change in him because he wanted to start over and never come back.
As for reading to his daughters, “It lets them hear my voice and see my little antics that make daddy, daddy. Haley, go first, catch daddy’s kiss, well done girls I love you” Kory said in the video.
For parents in prison, reading to loved ones is a way to stay close.
âIt was really good because it was like knowing he was here with us,â said Kaelie, Kory’s 7-year-old daughter.
Kory served 18 months and during that time he was sober.
âI just want people to give everyone who deserves that second chance, give that second chance,â Kory said.
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Sheriff Bill Gore often reminds us that inmates will one day be released into society.
“It’s not about punishing, it’s about making them once again valuable members of our community. Just because you’re in prison doesn’t mean you’re no longer a father or a mother,” he said. said Sheriff Gore.
I have met Sheriff Gore on several occasions and have always been moved by his compassion, not only for his deputies, but also for people who are trying to change their lives.
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Since Kory’s release in 2018, he has become a foreman in the construction industry.
âHe works hard every day to help the family stay beautiful and healthy,â Kaelie said.
I asked the sisters what they got for their father for Father’s Day.
âWe’d rather not say anything. So if daddy was looking at the news, he would know,â Danny said.
Kory would tell you; his gift is the freedom to be a father.
âFather’s Day is going the way it’s supposed to,â Kory said.
âI just appreciate that he’s always there by our side,â Danny said.
âI’ve finally become a hero to them again and that makes me proud. These girls are my reason for everything,â Kory said.
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Reading Legacies allows people in detention to record bedtime stories for their children. Parents, grandparents, guardians, choose the book, write a message and read the book. Reading Legacies then sends the book along with the CD recording for the kids to watch so they stay connected with loved ones. Kory sits on the Reading Legacies Advisory Council. He hopes the program will help other inmates stay close to their loved ones. For more information on Read legacy, click here.
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