Mentoring Children of Prisoners: Breaking Negative Cycles, Building a Stronger Society


Did you know that currently there are more than 15,000 children in Minnesota who are dealing with the difficult reality of having a parent in prison? Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities is helping to address the needs of these children and their families through our Mentoring Children of Prisoners (MCP) program.

Studies have shown that children who have a family member in prison can harbor feelings of shame or distrust, struggle academically or face unstable home environments. But with the friendship and guidance of a Big Brother or Big Sister in the MCP program, these young people benefit from a consistent and meaningful relationship—and have better chances of breaking negative cycles.

Troy and Luke have been a match in this program for almost two years. Their story is a great example of the positive effects MCP can have, and the Star Tribune recently wrote a piece about them:

Federal funding for this program is currently in jeopardy, however. Even though the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded Big Brothers Big Sisters a three-year grant to expand this program late in 2010, now there is a budget proposal in Congress that threatens to completely cut funding for MCP beginning this October.

So how can you help? There are a couple of ways:

  • Ask your Congress members to keep funding intact for this important mentoring program. The best way to do this is to contact them via phone or email, and ask them to pass a Continuing Resolution to H.R. 1 that restores funding to the Mentoring Children of Prisoners program. You can find contact information at
  • Donate time or money to support MCP by calling Big Brothers Big Sisters at 651.789.2400.

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