NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – On any given day, we normally talk about how people end up in jail or prison, their charges, and focus on their victims. However, so rarely do we get to know one group often left behind after a crime is committed.

“What is forgotten are the kids that are left behind,” said Tiffany Mitchell, founder of Opening Hearts.

Two Nashville organizations are working together to end generational incarceration in a way you may not expect. Throughout Middle Tennessee, more than 100 children are left behind while their parents are serving time behind bars.

“A lot of times the children are left behind. They are little and people feel like they’re not going to remember, but yeah, they will remember,” explained Mollie Vaughn, founder of Bald, Beautiful, Bold.

Bald, Beautiful, Bold, and Opening Hearts joined forces to change the conversation.

“Most of us have family members that have been incarcerated. I have experienced that as well with my brothers, and I helped take care of their children, but when I started reading and studying, 47% of the people incarcerated have children,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell and Vaughn partnered with Tennessee Prison Outreach Ministry (TPOM) to fill in the gap left behind after a parent goes to jail or prison.

TPOM works to address participants’ mental health while restoring their faith and giving them the tools necessary for long-term recovery. With this holistic approach, they aim to break the cycle of generational incarceration and provide hope to the forgotten.

“That support, letting them know that they’re not forgotten, letting them know that there is love still there for them,” said Reisha Kidd, who is part of the Community Outreach Division of TPOM. “To know that there is a connection there with their parents, even if their parents aren’t physically there, and at TPOM that’s what we do.”

Many of the children end up being taken care of by family members who never anticipated they would have to step in.

“It costs about $16,5000 a year for one child; imagine being a grandmother on social security taking care of two children and trying to provide,” Mitchell said.

So the three of them decided to work together to make a difference in some of the children’s lives. Mitchell and Vaughn were able to raise funds to help send six children back to school with shoes, clothing, socks, underwear, and other supplies.

The pair explained how when someone is incarcerated, it has a “landslide effect”, especially when children are involved. This oftentimes puts a financial strain on the family.

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“One grandparent said, ‘I’m 74 years old and I was given these children and I didn’t want them in the system,’ so I told her mama we got you,” said Vaughn.

The goal was to let the families know they are not standing alone, and that every child is important and should have everything they need to go back to school.

The groups plan on working together for additional fundraising in October.