RICHMOND, Va. -- A local nonprofit is helping children and parents reconnect after incarceration.
LeTeisha Gordon knows exactly what it feels like to grow up without the guidance of a father. She struggled for years when her dad went to federal prison.
Back then, she had no idea her life story would shape her purpose. However, she would end up founding the nonprofit A Better Day Than Yesterday, an organization focused on children who are dealing with the same issue.
"They go through isolation, social isolation. They go through abandonment issues, they have a hard time understanding. Why did it happen? When will it be over?" Gordon said.
Gordon's nonprofit takes a trauma-informed care approach and helps young people and families rebuild.
"We try to use on-site, in-person activities to have them do that. Like, we have a partnership with peak experience to help them to do trust activities. And that's rock climbing. In order to guide me up the wall, I need to be able to trust you and your directions. So that's one way we do it. And the other way we do it is by participating in group bike rides," Gordon said.
A Better Day Than Yesterday reaches kids on many other levels. It provides mentoring and after-school programs at the Southside Community Center in partnership with Richmond Parks and Recreation.
There is also a straight talk program for girls twice a month that focuses on self-esteem, coping skills and mindfulness. The program is now gaining attention from VCU.
"But that's where we come to the point of the study. We just recently approved for through VCU for our IRB, which is called the Institutional Review Board that monitors the effectiveness of our programming," Thomas Mundy said.
Thomas Mundy knows firsthand how critical these programs are. He previously spent time in jail and now gives back through the nonprofit by working with students.
Mund said he had to reestablish a relationship with his own children once he was released.
"You know, I'm not the college professor, You know, this, opening up the book and just read some of the text to you. You know, I'm giving you 45 years of life experience, most of it, you know. I'm saying my story is the story of perseverance and resilience, you know, and just deciding to take control of my life to take my life back, You know and I tell these kids, you're going to make mistakes," Mundy said.
Mundy and Gordon said their mission is to help young people have a better day than yesterday. They hope the community will join in and help.
The community can do that by supporting a fundraiser the nonprofit has in June. Tickets are available online.
You can also donate by helping with funding for enrichment and trust-building opportunities like the rock climbing experience.
To learn more about how to get involved, visit the organization's website.