Gordon Philanthropies, Inc. and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department have collaborated to build the first-ever Children’s Library located inside the Visitor Center at Men’s Central Jail.
The library will allow incarcerated fathers at Men’s Central to bond with their children through reading together. Gordon Philanthropies Founder Dan Gordon, Sheriff Robert Luna, Superior Court Judge Craig Mitchell, and more gathered to dedicate the library to bringing families closer through the gift of reading and to encourage young readers to aim for the stars.
“This library is for children and families to provide support, comfort, and nourishment to young people and families in need. Like the other libraries and community book initiatives we sponsor, our mission is to provide family-oriented educational opportunities to children who pertain to underserved and under-resourced communities. Gordon Philanthropies firmly believes that education and family involvement are the ingredients children require to go on and live truly fulfilling and productive lives. Our organization hopes that this modest effort can contribute to those needs,” said Gordon Philanthropies Founder Dan Gordon.
Libraries like this are needed, as there are nearly 2.7 million children across the nation who have been reported to have at least one parent in prison. Positive visitation experiences have been reported to be incredibly beneficial for both the child and incarcerated parent alike, with those who received visitors less likely to be reincarcerated than those who did not. When children are provided child-friendly visitation opportunities, improved emotional adjustment, better behavior in school, and other benefits often follow.
Head of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Robert Luna says, “All children deserve respect, kindness, and an opportunity to a leveled educational playing field. This is why our partnership with Gordon Philanthropies to create a children’s library in one of the busiest visitor centers confirms our organization’s commitment to building on the public’s trust.”
“One of the best ways to insure against recidivism of those who are incarcerated is to ensure that the ties that bind the incarcerated to their families remain intact. Moreover, there are few forces more powerful than a child’s love for their parents,” said LA Superior Judge Craig Mitchell.
Receiving over 250 visitors per day, the Children’s Library is designed to provide all visiting children with a warm, accommodating area in which they have the option to indulge in reading or enjoy the serenity of playing a variety of board games. Filled with an ample array of books also donated by Gordon Philanthropies, the library aims to supply children of all ages with literary enjoyment in a carefully curated space that caters to their needs.