At least five million children in America have experienced the trauma of having a parent who has been incarcerated. More than 125,000 of them live in Houston. They face childhoods of shame and uncertainty, they are exposed to hunger, homelessness, violence and sexual assault.
It creates a toxic brew of risk factors that can force them down the same path of incarceration that captured their parents.
children in Texas have at least one parent who was incarcerated
These students are four times more likely to be failing or missing classes
of juveniles in the detention system have a parent in prison
These children are more than twice as likely to have PTSD, depression, suicidal tendencies and other diagnosed health problems
No More Victims goes where we are needed the most. When Texas ranked its schools, every one where we work was in the bottom 3% because of the challenges their students face. Poverty levels are high in the neighborhoods where our students live and the average income is $22,000 per year.
Most importantly, we go where children are most likely to wind up in jail or prison unless someone helps them. The map shows areas where children are most likely to be incarcerated as adults. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that 7% of students from the schools we serve, including nearly 14% of boys, are predicted to be incarcerated as adults.
We can't let their past become their prison!
We are breaking the multigenerational cycle of incarceration. No More Victims uses a peer support approach, led by an experienced adult facilitator in an emotionally safe space, to allow youths to address the challenges in their lives. Our students build the social and emotional skillsets they need to overcome their childhood trauma, such as:
what we do
No More Victims changes the lives of children whose parents are or have been incarcerated. To do this, we go into some of Houston’s most challenged high schools and work directly with teens as they struggle with poverty, abuse and other trauma. First, we show them that their lives have meaning. Then we help motivate them to get their diploma and go onto college or careers. Finally, we give them the social and emotional tools to break the cradle to prison pipeline and live successful lives.
20 years ago, Marilyn Gambrell brought the No More Victims program into Houston schools. There were no guidebooks. No instructions. Very few people even realized these children experienced unique challenges, much less how to help them. The program she developed over two decades has now graduated hundreds of children from Houston schools, and we are just getting started. Now it is time to expand and to bring the real-life experience from 20 years of success to more schools.
devon wade's STORY
When Devon Wade came to his first No More Victims class, he was a shy and quiet 15-year old. Both of his parents were in prison. He emerged as a brilliant, inspiring leader, a Harry S Truman Scholar who pursued a doctorate from Columbia University.
Then he was tragically murdered in 2017. But his legacy lives on. Columbia bestowed Devon with its first posthumous PhD and honored him with its top alumni award. He continues to be a role model for No more Victims Students and proof that their past doesn’t define their future.
TIME TO GROW
As we look to expand into up to 3-4more campuses this next school year, we continue to add the invaluable experience and dedication of key team members.
As we bring on new classroom personnel, we are formalizing our curriculum and training, so that we can continue to consistently and effectively deliver incredible opportunities to our students.
Once we have our processes in place and have built up our network of support, we will be ready to grow throughout Houston, Texas and the United States.