Redeeming the Family Inc
1409 NW 150th
Edmond OK 73013
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Organization Does Business As (DBA) Name(s)
Organization DBA
Oklahoma Messages Project
OK Messages
Mission Statement

Serving children of incarcerated parents with a proven Literacy & Prevention program to maintain a connection with parents and improve the child's reading, social, emotional, and educational outcomes. Ultimately, to break the familial cycle of incarceration in the next generation of Oklahomans and help these children become healthy, productive adults. In order to do this, to assist them in staying in school instead of heading down the cradle-to-prison pipeline that kids whose parents are 50-70% more likely to spiral into than their peers. 


Kids can watch their videos and read their stories every night at bedtime
Contact Information
Contact Name Cheri Fuller
Contact email cheri@oklahomamessagesproject.org
Address 1409 NW 150th
Edmond , OK 73013
Phone (405) 285-5955
Fax 405-858-2019
County Oklahoma
Alternate Address P. O. Box 8073
Edmond OK 73083
How to Give
Other ways to donate, support or volunteer

The Oklahoma Messages Project receives no compensation for services, and no reimbursement from the State, County, or Department of Corrections. Fulfilling our mission depends entirely on the generous support of Foundations, Corporate Charities, and Individuals in the community. 

Donations can be mailed to the following address or made online at www.okmessagesproject.org/donate. In addition, in-kind donations of new children's books are welcome since reading is a major part of the program. Volunteers are needed to serve on Messages teams that go to a variety of prisons three times a year to be videographers, camera assistants, admin volunteers, parent and reading coaches. There are also volunteer opportunities for the Saturday events for children of incarcerated parents. 

Oklahoma Messages Project
1409 NW 150th
Edmond, OK 73013

Financial Summary
 
 
Projected Revenue $200,161.00
Projected Expenses $200,161.00
History and Background
Year Founded 2010
IRS Ruling Year 2011
State Registration Expiration July 2018
Statements
Mission

Serving children of incarcerated parents with a proven Literacy & Prevention program to maintain a connection with parents and improve the child's reading, social, emotional, and educational outcomes. Ultimately, to break the familial cycle of incarceration in the next generation of Oklahomans and help these children become healthy, productive adults. In order to do this, to assist them in staying in school instead of heading down the cradle-to-prison pipeline that kids whose parents are 50-70% more likely to spiral into than their peers. 


Background

Since 2010, The Oklahoma Messages Project (OMP) has been working to support Oklahoma’s most vulnerable, at-risk population: children whose mothers and fathers are in prison. Our mission is simple, but our message is powerful; it mends broken hearts, rebuilds families, and transforms the future.


Our program was inspired by the work of the Virginia Messages Project (VMP), which had been operating successfully in three states. Using the VMP model as a foundation, OK Messages developed its own innovative program, placing a greater emphasis on improving literacy outcomes because we know that literacy is key to keeping kids in school and out of prison.

OMP Founder Cheri Fuller was inspired to help children of inmates while teaching a Parenting Course to incarcerated mothers at Mabel Bassett Correctional Center for Women. Mabel Bassett houses more than 1,400 inmates, and over 80 percent of them have children. Fuller listened to their stories; many had gone years without contact with their children. Their families had broken off all contact, and relationships were shattered. As Fuller began to research the devastating consequences of parental incarceration on children’s lives, she knew she needed to help.

Going weeks or months without communication breaks the parental and family bond. This is difficult for the parent, but truly traumatic for the child. Children who do not see their parent’s face or hear their voice imagine the worst, and often blame themselves. They become anxious, highly emotional, have nightmares, suffer with depression, become angry and combative. They suffer social and educational setbacks. Older kids engage in risky behavior. They are much more likely to drop out of school and end up in prison themselves.

When the family connection is maintained during incarceration, both child and parent benefit. The child’s risk for social, emotional, and educational problems is greatly reduced. For the incarcerated parent, family connection decreases the likelihood of recidivism. Children need more than phone calls or occasional letters. and that is what this program provides. Many children feel their parent is in the room with them when they watch the DVD. This audio-visual experience using books and bedtime stories to reconnect child and parent is the next best thing to a face-to-face visit, which is impossible for most families/inmates to achieve; Children can watch and read along with their parents every night.

Impact

Emma has not seen her Mother in six years. She was behind in school and suffered from nightmares. Thanks to OMP videos, she is now a 4th grade honor student reading 6th grade books. "Emma said she loves to listen to my voice and see my face each night before she goes to bed because it makes her bad dreams go away and stay away," her Mother tells us. Hunter was afraid his mom was in a cage, and was terrified for a year and a half (interfering with his focus and learning) until he got his OK Messages video and mom's read-along story. Then his outcomes began to improve at school and home. 

Last year, OK Messages reached more than 2,700 children just like Emma and Hunter, and we are determined to reach more children this year. 

Children who participate in the OK Messages Project show marked improvement at school and at home. They become happier, healthier, and better behaved. Research conducted with the University of Oklahoma confirmed our program's transformative impact on the children who received messages.

* 88% had less depression and sadness

* 71% were less anxious and worried about their parents

* 69% had improvements in overall behavior

* 72% showed improvement in reading and increased interest in reading

* 78% experienced improvement in self-esteem

Caregivers and parents tell us how much our messages improve both parent-child bonds and their children’s reading skills. “My 8-year-old is reading so much better, and he likes to read now because he reads along with me at bedtime,” one father says. “My kids feel close to me when they watch the videos. It is like I am there with them," says a mom. Another Father tells us that the videos make his kids feel special. “The nine-year-old loves reading with the three year old now. I feel good knowing that the kids have no doubts about my love and care for them. Thank you!” 

OK Messages Project received the 2016 National Council on Families, Oklahoma Chapter for the impact on Oklahoma children and families. The Department of Corrections awarded OMP Volunteer Organization of the Year award in 2015. We hope to start and raise money for a College Scholarship Fund for children of Oklahoma's incarcerated parents in the next two years.
 
 
 
Needs

a. Funding: Having the funding for one additional full-time employee to assist with program and volunteer coordination, development, and a myriad of other duties, at a salary rate of $32,000. And reach a budget of $250,000 to apply to be a United Way agency in Oklahoma County.

b. Gaining enough sponsors to donate $30 per child that will send 85 children of incarcerated parents to a one week camp in the summer of 2018 = a total of $2550.

c. Recruiting more volunteers.

d. To hire an Americore employee through the Oklahoma Commission for Community Service

e. To bring more advocacy and awareness on the huge challenges and problems that children of incarcerated parents face…so that lawmakers at the Capitol will consider the question, “What about the children and how are our Oklahoma laws affecting them?” when they propose or vote on any criminal justice reform legislation.

CEO/Executive Director Statement

The OK Messages bedtime story videos give parents a way to contribute something positive to their children. See below to find out what some Dads told us after participating in our Father's Day Messages from Day program:


My son is 13. I’ve done 4 DVD’s and the videos that are sent to him have not only improved our relationship but helped the whole family’s relationships heal. ‘Out of sight out of mind’ is what happens when a father is in prison. But with the videos I’m not out of sight. I can tell him how proud I am of him andthat I love him. I thank God for this program. It’s more than a blessing. It has helped bring me home to my son.” — father at Joseph Harp CC

My six year old twin girls have had a very hard time with me being gone to prison. Sending the ‘Daddy movies’ as they call them and getting to read along with me has helped my girls’ reading improve and
has helped us develop a deep bond.” —a father at Lexington Correctional Center

My children are ages 4, 6, 9 and 11. My younger kids didn’t even know my face or who their daddy was until I got to be recorded while reading a book to them. My boys who are 9 & 11 are at an age where they really need a father. The videos let my boys spend time with me at any time. It helps them when they miss me. The books I’ve sent to the oldest two have improved their reading and learning a lot. Reading to them on the videos is one thing I can do to be a better dad. Thank you!” —Lexington dad

My children are 12, 10, and 8. Before my first video message, I had only seen my 3 children once and received a few letters. Since they started getting their videos, we became more connected and my ex-wife has brought them almost every week. Now we talk on the phone on a regular basis and we exchange letters, and I get to encourage them as they are growing up. Their reading and writing has improved because they read books with me every night.” —Lexington dad

My grandkids are 6, 5, 4, and 3. The videos have improved our relationships hugely. I’ve done 6 videos.
In them I’ve gotten to encourage my grandchildren to stay educated and pursue positivity. They love the stories and books I read to them and read along with me every night. It has really strengthened our relationship!

Area Served
Area Served
Geographic Area Served
Oklahoma - Statewide
The Oklahoma Messages Project is based in central Oklahoma, but we serve children from all over the state, and visit prisons across Oklahoma.  Our Board of Directors includes members from both central Oklahoma and the Tulsa area.
Service Categories
Secondary Organizational Category Education/Remedial Reading & Encouragement
Tertiary Organizational Category Public & Societal Benefit/
Programs
Description

The Oklahoma Messages Project (OMP) provides an innovative, evidence-based prevention and literacy program that drastically improves the lives of Oklahoma children with a parent in prison. We visit prisons across Oklahoma to meet with parents, coach them on reading techniques, and film them reading books to their children. They also share positive messages of love and encouragement: “I love you; I miss you; I’m proud of you.” We mail the videos to caretakers, along with the books so children can read along every night at bedtime, or whenever they need a “virtual hug” from their Mom or Dad. These "virtual visits" reduce anxiety, improve behavior and feelings of self‐worth, and increase literacy skills. Our mission may be simple, but our impact is powerful and transformative, healing the hearts of children traumatized by parental separation and restoring families that had seemed too broken for too long.

Strategy
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) At-Risk Populations
Program Short-term SuccessHelpDescription of short-term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program.

Emma has not seen her Mother in six years. She was behind in school and suffered from nightmares. Thanks to OMP videos, she is now a 4th grade honor student reading 6th grade books. "Emma said she loves to listen to my voice and see my face each night before she goes to bed because it makes her bad dreams go away and stay away," her Mother tells us.

Parental incarceration creates trauma equal to the death of a parent. Children become anxious, angry, and depressed. In school, those feelings of abandonment manifest as a disregard for classroom rules and instructions, and the safety of other students. Learning becomes impossible, creating educational setbacks that persist into adulthood. Our short-term goals are to ease fears and anxiety, mitigate feelings of shame, and restore critical family connections so that children are happy, healthy, and focused enough to learn in school, make friends, and live a "normal" childhood.

Program Long-term SuccessHelpDescription of the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future or represent an ideal state.

Parental incarceration creates trauma equal to the death of a parent. Children become anxious, angry, and depressed. In school, those feelings of abandonment manifest as a disregard for classroom rules and instructions, and the safety of other students. Learning becomes impossible, creating educational setbacks that persist into adulthood. Without early interventions like the Oklahoma Messages Project, these kids are more likely to become addicted, homeless, or incarcerated. 

Our program goals are to reconnect children with their parent in prison; reduce the shame, stigma, and anxiety associated with their parent’s incarceration; increase children’s reading skills and reading engagement; and improve each child’s emotional, behavioral, and educational outcomes through shared reading experiences. Essentially, we strive to keep children of incarcerated parents in school and out of prison, breaking the cycle of incarceration one child at a time.
Program Success MonitoringHelpDescription of the tools used to measure or track program impact.

All OK Messages outcomes are tracked through a data system developed by Dr. David McLeod, Sociology Researcher at OU. Parent and caregiver surveys include both rating scales and open-ended/comment questions, and are the primary basis for program outcome data. In 2016, we updated surveys to include a section for children (of appropriate age) to rate and report their own experience. We also started surveying past participants about the long-term impact of OK Messages videos and books on their emotional and behavioral health, relationships, and literacy and school issues.

Because we have been visiting prisons and filming parents reading books to their children since 2010, we have developed long-term relationships with many families impacted by incarceration.  Grandparents raising Grandkids because both parents are in prison, Fathers serving life sentences, Mothers who are released and reunited with their children - OK Messages helps all of these families build and maintain bonds.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpSpecific examples of changes in behaviors or testimonies of changes that demonstrate program success.

Children who participate in the OK Messages Project show marked improvement at school and at home. They become happier, healthier, and better behaved. Research conducted with the University of Oklahoma confirmed our program's transformative impact on the children who received messages.

* 88% had less depression and sadness

* 71% were less anxious and worried about their parents

* 69% had improvements in overall behavior

* 72% showed improvement in reading and increased interest in reading

* 78% experienced improvement in self-esteem

Our families tell us how much our messages improve both parent-child bonds and their children’s reading skills. “My 8-year-old is reading so much better, and he likes to read now because he reads along with me at bedtime,” one father says. Another Father tells us that the videos make his kids feel special. “The 9-year-old loves reading with the three year old. I feel good knowing that the kids have no doubts about my love and care for them. Thank you!”

CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Cheri Fuller
Start Date Jan 2010
Email cheri@oklahomamessagesproject.org
Experience

Cheri Fuller is a speaker and an award-winning author of over 48 books, that have been translated and published in many countries around the world. Most of her books are focused on helping children thrive and succeed by excellent, thoughtful parenting. A former college teacher, she holds a B.A. and Masters degree from Baylor University. Cheri’s articles on children, education, and family have appeared in Family Circle, Guideposts, ParentLife, and numerous other publications.

Cheri is the Executive Director of Oklahoma Messages Project, an Edmond nonprofit organization that serves children of incarcerated parents to improve the child’s social, emotional, and educational outcomes. Their core program is a prevention and literacy program that boosts the children’s reading skills, reduces their anxiety, anger, and sadness, and helps them do better at school and home.

She and her husband, Holmes, live in Oklahoma, have three grown children and six grandchildren. 

Senior Staff
NameTitle
Holmes FullerProgram Manager
Staff
Number of Full-time Staff 2
Number of Part-time Staff 0
Number of Contract Staff 2
Number of Volunteers 200
Staff Retention Rate 100
Are professional development opportunities provided? No
Does CEO/Executive Director have formal evaluations? Yes
Management reports to board? Yes
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
Caucasian 2
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 1
Female 1
Organizational Plans
Fundraising Plan Under Development
Policy against commission-based compensation for fundraising consultant Yes
Communication Plan Under Development
Strategic Plan Under Development
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policies and Procedures Under Development
Collaborations

Our primary collaborative partner is the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC). All filming events are coordinated with the full support and cooperation of the DOC, who have invited our staff and volunteers into all Men's and Women's state and private prisons. A staff person at each prison works with OMP staff to schedule the date for filming, post announcement posters, recruit participants, and provide a secure space in which to work with and film participants. The DOC recognizes the value of our program, and appreciates our work, especially the net reduction in recidivism; however, we receive neither funding nor compensation from the DOC for our service.

ReMerge of Oklahoma County is another valuable collaborative partner. ReMerge is a "comprehensive female diversion program designed to transform pregnant women and mothers facing incarceration into productive citizens." These Mothers are working hard to transition back into their community and family life, and out videos are a great way for them to reconnect with their minor children, most of whom are living with relatives or foster families. ReMerge provides no reciprocal services or funding for our organization.

Awards
Awards
Award/RecognitionOrganizationYear
Citizenship Award for Impact on Children and Families Oklahoma Chapter, National Council on Families2016
Risk Management Provisions
Employment Practices Liability
Terrorism
Broadcaster Liability
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government (federal, state and/or local)? No
Board Chair
Name Camden Chitwood
Company Affiliation Emerson Events, Owner
Term Oct 2016 to Oct 2019
Email camden@emersonevents.com
Board of Directors
List Current as of July 01, 2017
Board of Directors List
NameAffiliationStatus
Camden Chitwood Emerson EventsVoting
Antwione Crawford Verizon WirelessVoting
Francie Ekwerekwu Oklahoma County Public DefenderVoting
Cheri Fuller Oklahoma Messages ProjectNonVoting
Kurtis Hanni Tricorps SecurityVoting
Cyndi Munson Oklahoma House of Representatives, District 85Voting
Anne Risch The Academy of Classical Christian StudiesVoting
Lynda G. Toney-Bahr Therapeutic Arts FacilitatorVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 25
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 63
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 12
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 25
Female 75
Governance
Board Term Lengths 3 years
Percentage of Board Making Monetary Contributions to the Organization 100 %
Percentage of Board Making In-Kind Contributions to the Organization 100 %
Board Orientation Yes
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria? Under Development
Standing Committees
Finance
Community Outreach / Community Relations
Current Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year July 01, 2017-June 30, 2018
Current Year Budgeted Total Income $200,161
Current Year Budgeted Total Expenses $200,161
Financial Documents
IRS Letter of Determination
Prior Three Years' Financial History
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$98,991$76,069$36,487
Administration Expense$12,374$9,509$4,558
Fundraising Expense$12,374$9,509$4,558
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.321.402.18
Program Expense/Total Expenses80%80%80%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$139,760$99,868$62,202
Current Assets$127,319$89,483$53,917
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities------
Total Net Assets$139,760$99,868$62,202
Solvency
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Funding Sources
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions $163,631Contributions $131,279Contributions $99,508
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Other $1,474 --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next Five Years? No
Comments on Financials
Foundation Staff Comments All prior year financial information is from the IRS Form 990s.

Contributions may include foundations and corporations when the breakout was not available.

The financial information presented is obtained from the following sources: IRS Form 990, independent audit reports, financial statements – board approved when available, and supplemental information from the organization. We do not warrant or guarantee the timeliness, errors or inaccuracies. With respect to information regarding financial performance, nothing on this website should be interpreted as a statement or interpretation by OCCF staff.

Organizations with a GiveSmartOKC profile are responsible for updating information annually within 45 days following the end of their fiscal year.


Address 1409 NW 150th
Edmond , OK 73013
Primary Phone 405 285-5955
CEO/Executive Director Cheri Fuller
Board Chair Camden Chitwood
Board Chair Company Affiliation Emerson Events, Owner