Announcing GEMS: Gaining Empowerment in Middle School

GEMS: A New Approach For Children of Incarcerated Parents When They Need It Most

Middle school should be a time of discovery and growth. But for the 43,000 middle school-aged children of incarcerated parents in the Houston area, this is when they are most at-risk of falling behind in school, first experiencing depression and giving in to gangs and other negative peer pressures.

Complex Problems Take Holistic Solutions

GEMS forms circles of support around children of incarcerated parents.


Students learn the social and emotional skills to cope with the challenges of trauma, poverty and shame they face. It is where they connect with peers who help them understand they are not alone.

Family: GEMS connects with caregivers to help them provide the support an at-risk child needs to succeed.

Role Models: Through classroom volunteers; guest speakers; and other role models, GEMS exposes students to positive influences and new experiences that can lead them to a future that doesn’t include prison and poverty.

A Brain Development Approach to Early Adolescence

The odds are stacked against children of incarcerated parents. They drop out at twice the rate of their classmates, suffer lifelong mental health challenges, and, without intervention, can fall into the same intergenerational cycles of incarceration that claimed their family members.

Middle school starts a new period of brain growth, but trauma and stress may lock children

in harmful negative patterns for the rest of their lives.

We studied best practices from experts in psychology, education and trauma to overcome that problem.

GEMS builds up nine critically important social and emotional skills sets through a systematic approach of engaging exercises and hands-on activities.

Plus, we like to have a little fun in our classes!

But We Can Change That!

By taking a systematic approach to our students, we can help them beat the odds just when they are most at risk of falling through the cracks!

GEMS - Because Amazing Futures Start Right Now

Click here to support our work with children of incarcerated parents in Houston.

713.836.9147 |

448 W. 19th St., Box 647, Houston, Texas 77008

COCI is a fully qualified 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 

Tax ID # 76-0393617

© 2019 Cherish Our Children Inc.

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