A local organization that helps families of inmates is hosting a fundraising event this weekend. Family Connection gives guests a place to stay in Sioux Falls when they’re visiting family in prison.
Dawn Dossett volunteers regularly at Family Connection in downtown Sioux Falls. When her son was in prison, she noticed a lot of families didn’t have a place to stay when they would visit their incarcerated loved ones.
“I went to see him every weekend. I was very fortunate that I lived right here and I had the ability to go up there. Over that 10 years, I met a lot of families that came from a long way and only got to visit maybe once or twice a year,” Dossett said.
She says Family Connection is important because it provides a safe place to stay and keeps families together.
“They can play in the play room and feel comfortable. They’re just grateful. It’s one less expense when they come to visit,” Dossett said.
Around 1,000 guests stay in the rooms here at the Family Connection Hospitality House every year. The organization also provides group therapy for kids.
Pat Starr is on the Board of Directors. He says Family Connection has provided group therapy for hundreds of kids affected by loved ones behind bars.
“My foster daughter has a mom and a dad who are in prison. It’s hard at six to understand, you’re not a bad person,” Starr said.
Starr says Family Connection does even more. It has another building that provides housing for women transitioning out of prison. It’s all in an effort to strengthen families and stop a negative cycle.
“Finding that ability to do the right thing and give you the tools to be successful so you don’t repeat what you did wrong,” Starr said.
Family Connection’s Black, White and Diamond Gala is this Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Minnehaha Country Club. Our own Angela Kennecke will be a guest speaker at the event. Tickets are $40 for individuals or $75 for a couple. All the money raised will go towards Family Connection’s programs and the upkeep of its facilities.