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Carolyn LeCroy - Inspirational & Motivational Stories

Carolyn LeCroy - The Message Project

Carolyn LeCroy's was a successful news producer with two loving children aged 18 and 22 years. The law abiding citizen who has never even had a traffic ticket, had her world turned upside down one fine day in 1994. She had been allowing a former friend to use her storage unit. She says she knew the content being stored but she had no idea of the amount. That fateful day, the police were looking for something else at the time, but the sniffer dog caught a hold of her storage unit instead. To her shock, Carolyn was sentenced to 55 years in prison for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. "The guy it belonged to ran, so I was literally left holding the bag," LeCroy recalls.

While she was in prison, LeCroy was frequently visited by her two sons who kept her going strong. She would often see women who never got visits from loved ones and would constantly be depressed and unhappy. According to a study by the U.S. Department of Justice, only 20% of prison inmates receive monthly visits from their children. An astonishing 2.3 million children approximately, have one or both parents in jail as well. LeCroy considered herself one of the lucky ones. However, seeing these women made her think how their children must be feeling not being able to see their mothers or fathers.

Thus in 1996, LeCroy took it upon herself to help these women. The sadness on their faces determined her to do something for them as well as their children. In 1999, using her skills as a film producer, LeCroy and a volunteer camera crew went to the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women in Troy, Virginia. She actually recorded video messages from the inmates to send to their children and families as Christmas gifts. Ultimately, The Messages Project was born. The sole purpose of this project was to give the inmates an opportunity to take responsibility and apologize to their kids for the first time. In fact, it's a step towards establishing a bond that was lost when they went to jail. Thru this effort, LeCroy has given them a chance to re-build and re-establish a connection between imprisoned parents and the children that are left behind. It's rather touching in fact; The Messages Project has so far recorded nearly 3,000 video messages, stories, poems and wishes which show parents accept their wrong doing, apologize and make an effort to re-connect with the time they have lost with their children. On a higher level however, LeCroy is trying to show communities that inmates are regular people as well, just like them. Many have pre-conceived notions of inmates but if you look at them they all are just normal people, with families and children too.

Till date, "The Messages Project" has worked in six state prisons at least three times a year, namely, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Christmas throughout the state of Virginia. She definitely hopes to expand it to a nationwide initiative.

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