FRANKLIN CO., Ohio (WCMH) â€”Â Children and holidays go hand-in-hand. But imagine the pain for mothers locked away from their children on Thanksgiving Day.
For the first time Franklin County Jail inmates are reading books to be gifted to their children. A book recording kids can play over and over, hearing mommyâ€™s voice.
8News sister station NBC4 went to the Jackson Pike Correction Center, to speak with inmates and officials about the startup program.
â€œThis is Mommy; I want to read you a book,â€ said Dashaundra Lewis as she read into a recorder. She is the mother of three children, all 10 years old orÂ younger.Â SheÂ said she is hopeful she will get out of jail before Christmas.
DeborahÂ Scott with Vineyard Columbus said reading a book to your child is something most people take for granted.
â€œYou just let me know when you are ready to start,â€ said Scott, who instructed inmates with a quick tutorial before recording each reading.
â€œHi baby; This is mommy, and I just wanted to tell you I love and miss you and canâ€™t wait to see you,â€ saidÂ Chelsie Runyon, a mother of five children all 9 years old orÂ younger.Â â€œNow I am about to read you a book called Cork and Fuzz, Finders Keepers.â€
Runyon is waiting to be transferred to the Ohio Reformatory for Women.
The idea is to keep a connection with children by the generations-old tradition of reading a book, so their child can play mommyâ€™s voice over and over.
â€œIt is just sad because you wish you could be next to your child instead of reading the book and sending a recording,â€ said Runyon.
This is a first-time partnership between the county jail and Vineyard Church.
â€œIt can be very emotional while they are preparing to read but once they start reading they are just transported,â€ said Deborah Scott with Vineyard Columbus.
â€œBeing able to reach out with our kids is a blessing,â€ Lewis said.
To qualify inmates are able to make the book recording as part of a parenting class. Still, both inmates said being locked up during the holiday is tough.
â€œIt is terrible, I Miss my children very much,â€ said Lewis.
â€œAt least they can hear your voice and keep replaying it over, so they donâ€™t forget about you,â€ said Runyon.
Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott said its about keeping a family bond while doing time.
â€œI canâ€™t imagine what the kids are going through knowing their parents are in jail. This gives them a little more of that connection that they are still in that relationship and get too far removed that creates a whole other set of problems,â€ Scott said.
DeborahÂ Scott said for the program to grow they need volunteers. She said if you would like to help call Vineyard Columbus.