Countless children across the country have faced the difficult circumstances of parental incarceration. In Kentucky alone, 145,000 children and youth are impacted — doubling the national average. The Wanda Joyce Robinson Foundation, named after co-founder Dale Robinson’s mother, was established in 2018 to help those affected by exhibiting a parent’s unconditional love for their child even while they are away.
The Frankfort-based non-profit strives to protect, provide and restore children and youth in Franklin County who experience disadvantages from the incarceration of caregivers. Since the start of the Foundation, the nonprofit has been able to directly serve more than 300 local residents.
“There is a huge need for this foundation in Franklin County alone,” Executive Board Member, Rebecca Redding says. “We have a lot to do so we are trying to grow to reach even further, but we have also done a lot.”
To help the local Franklin County residents in need, the organization strives to be present when the members need them and truly show they are not alone. The Foundation shows this support through education, connection and prevention.
Students receive readily available school resources, scholarships and career planning. Support groups, fellowship events and visitation keep the students connected to each other and their parent. Since students with incarcerated parents have a higher risk of falling into the juvenile justice system, established mentorship programs such as Operation Make A Change and Kids Rising Up through Support and Healing were incorporated which work to decrease these chances.
Together, these aspects allow the K-12th grade students to have a space to feel heard and safe. The foundation even provides companionship to those in their life after graduation.
“We aren’t going to send them off and wish them good luck,” states Redding. “We try to fill in all the gaps in the rest of their lives. People think because they don’t know anyone incarcerated that it’s not a big deal. It is and it affects these kids moving forward.”
Witnessing the impact this non-profit provided the community in the beginning, Independence Bank quickly became involved with support. From providing volunteers at annual galas and golf events, sponsoring advertisements and hosting the Adam Hyatt Memorial Scholarship, the Bank sees the importance and need for the continuation of this organization. In a new feature this year, Kentucky Sports Radio (KSR) broadcasted the 2022 golf scramble, a promotional effort Independence Bank helped make possible.
“These children should not be forgotten or left behind,” shared Greg Burton, Franklin County Independence Bank President. “We are a community Bank and these kids are part of this town which means we are going to be there for them through this partnership.”
As a fundraising effort, the organization’s second annual golf scramble was held with special appearances from Dale Robinson, plus Kentucky football head coach Mark Stoops and quarterback Will Levis. Individuals were encouraged to pre-register or sign up on the day of the event. Multiple awards were also given to category winners, including longest drive and closest to the pin.
While events and fundraisers help the foundation continue to support local children, the non-profit also needs help from the community. Volunteers and donations would not only tangibly showcase support, but would significantly improve the lives of future generations.
The Wanda Joyce Robinson Foundation relies on referrals and direct messages to help children. To refer, request support or learn more, please visit wjrfoundation.org.