Mothers spend holiday with kids for inaugural tea party at Richmond City Justice Center

Posted at 5:20 PM, Dec 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-22 18:42:21-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Mothers at the Richmond City Justice Center got to spend some quality time with their children at an inaugural tea party.

The tea party is a part of a new program called the Real program.

"This is my Christmas! I have been away from my family for two Christmases, three Thanksgivings consecutive, so today is my Christmas. I couldn't ask for a better gift," said Ashley Coles, one of the inmates at the RCJC.

Just a few days before Christmas, seven ladies who are currently incarcerated at RCJC have just completed a 28 week parenting program class.



Their reward was a day of glamour and love: hair, makeup, dresses and best of all an afternoon with their families. The event is called the Inaugural Tea with Moms and Kids.

"It's most important thing they learn parenting skills, conflict resolution, get a good education, and to tell their children the story of what got them here to keep them from coming here," said Sheriff C.T. Woody, Jr. of RCJC.

Participant Ashley Coles will be getting released this coming February after more than two years due to a drug charge. She hasn't held her daughter Markayla during her time away from home, but that all changed Tuesday.

Ashley Coles and her daughter Markayla.

Ashley Coles and her daughter Markayla.

"You look so pretty,” said Coles as she embraced her daughter.  After the initial reunion she added, "as soon as I saw her I was like waterworks. I was trying not to cry, but I couldn't hold it in no more because I miss her so much."

"I just felt happy! I've got nervous energy and I move around a lot so when I go to hug I was shaking," said 13 year old Markayla, daughter of Coles.

Ashley Coles and her daughter Markayla.

Ashley Coles and her daughter Markayla.

"It's time for me to get it together, time to get my life right. I’m not the one that matters. She's the one that matters. I love her so much," Coles said of her daughter Markayla.

The 28 week parenting class was only offered to those convicted of non-violent crimes and also have a record of good behavior.

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