Left Behind

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One Child’s Story of Life With (and Without) an Incarcerated Parent

By Danysha Alvelo

When I was about three years old my father was incarcerated due to drug possession. It took a couple of years for me to realize that he was absent from my life because it happened when I was still so young. In the long 7 years of my life that he was incarcerated, I visited him in prison just one time. Not having him around made everything difficult for my mom financially. It was a while after my dad was sent to jail that my mom, my sister and I had a stable home. In the beginning nothing seemed to be altered by his absence, but as I grew up I started to realize that he not being in my life entirely shaped the person I was becoming. Not having a permanent male figure in my life has made it difficult for me to build bonds and relationships with others.

I am now a senior in high school and for my capstone/senior project, I’ve decided to make my topic about children of incarcerated parents. My project focuses on the effects and results of having an imprisoned parent as children develop into adulthood. I decided to make this the topic of my project because I have first-hand experience with this situation and I believe that this is an important topic that society should be more aware about.

Danysha Alvelo is 17 years old and currently attends Metropolitan Learning Center in Bloomfield, CT as a senior. She was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico but raised in Hartford, CT.  Alvelo plans to attend college in the fall of 2016, her experience of having a parent in the system leading her to an interest in the Criminal Justice major. Her ultimate goal is to decrease the amount of violence in the streets of Hartford and decrease the number of people incarcerated.

Alvelo’s goal for this project is to bring awareness to the children who fall victim to having a parent incarcerated. She believes programs and support should be provided to children who have an absent parent due to imprisonment.

Danysha Alvelo can be reached at danyshaalvelo@gmail.com.

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