Local ex-convict parents reunite with their children
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS) —
Ex-convicts reconnected with their children Saturday. The emotional roller coaster was all a part of a local organizations effort to provide for Springfield families this holiday season.
The leader said there's a major personal reason behind it all.
It's a holiday celebration like no other as ex-convict parents reunite with their children.
"My children are a great inspiration,” said one father, Joseph Daven Port.
Port spent years behind bars for drugs and theft.
"A lot of people that are coming home, have nowhere to go,” he said.
Now his children are in the picture and he vows never to go back.
"He's been a really good big thing in our lives,” said his step-daughter, Ashanti Renee Johnson.
“Family is everything,” said Port. “I have lost a lot in my time but I have also gained a lot as well. I wouldn't say that I would change it because without going through the experiences that I would have gone through, I wouldn't be the man that I am today."
Saturday, around 40 families reconnected through the organization "Shifting into New Gear".
They spent time opening gifts and enjoying hot meals together.
"He doesn't want to take on what he had,” said 10-year-old Johnson. "He wants a better life for us."
SING Director, Lynard Joiner, has worked on this project for four years.
“The youth need their mother and father in their life,” said Joiner.
He said it's a reflection of his own life after he spent 17 years in federal prison.
"My kids went without me and I wasn't never able to provide for them when I first got out,” said Joiner. “So I wanted to provide for the other kids, so they wouldn't have to go through what I went through with my kids, so that's why I am so happy to be a part of this today."
Joiner has just successfully established SING as a non-profit.
Now Joseph Daven Port is planning to head to college to earn a degree in Psychology.
"The walk of life is a game that everyone has to play,” he said. “There really are no instructions except doing the right thing."
SING said the more ex-cons working, the better for the community.
If you want to make a donation to the organization, just visit the UCB Bank on Stevenson Drive or contact SING.