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Winner of the Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund - April 8, 2008

Lucretia Doyle Honored with $5,000 Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund Award

April 8, 2008

College Park, Georgia Resident Wins Cash Award To Support Program Assisting Children Of Incarcerated Women

(New York, NY, April 8, 2008) College Park, Georgia resident Lucretia Doyle, 31, is one step closer to fulfilling her dream of creating a better tomorrow for her community. Lucretia was named this week’s winner of the Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund, a weekly $5,000 cash award program from Avon Products, Inc. to support individuals in their work to empower women. Lucretia’s award will support Foreverfamily (Ff), a non-profit organization that assists families while their mothers are under incarceration and after their release.

In 1987, attorney Sandra Barnhill formed Foreverfamily (originally called AIM) in Georgia. Through her close work within the legal system, Sandra recognized the importance of holding together the family when mothers become incarcerated. The 30,000 Georgia children with imprisoned parents are five times more likely to be incarcerated than other children. Sandra could not ignore such staggering statistics and started this important organization which, to date, has served over 10,000 families.

Lucretia came to know Ff at age nine when her family became the first to be supported by the organization after her mother was convicted of armed robbery. Ff helped Lucretia and her mother maintain a tight bond through assisted monthly prison visits, countless letters and phone calls. Ff saw to it that contact with the family was constantly maintained and ensured that their needs were met through counseling sessions and home visits. After her mother’s release, Lucretia became the first “graduate” of Ff’s program. With the support and tools provided by Ff, Lucretia has overcome many obstacles and was the first in her family to earn a college degree. Lucretia claims her story is not uncommon, citing many families helped by Ff to achieve their own success stories.

Lucretia has dedicated her life to Ff and gives back by working for the organization, and speaking to mothers in prisons and on panel discussions. It gives her great pleasure to provide other families the blessings she received from Ff as a young child. “What the devil meant for evil, God turns for good,” says Lucretia, who speaks of her deeply held belief that guides her impassioned efforts to help other imprisoned mothers, their children and their temporary caregivers.

Ff provides case management and referral services for the many issues associated with incarceration. One of the more critical elements is an after school program where kids can play, read, nap and eat dinner, which alleviates the need for childcare. Ff also offers summer camp, enrichment activities, computer access and prison trips that would otherwise be expensive and difficult since the main jail facility is three hours from Metropolitan Atlanta. Additionally, Ff brings parenting and GED programs to the prisons to help mothers prepare for life after jail.

With the help of the Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund Lucretia plans to double the “Family Visitation Program” visits from every other month to once a month. She will reach girls ages five and up and provide them the opportunity to spend more precious time with their mothers. These trips are crucial, as Lucretia explains, because “when a mother’s hug last months, every extra moment counts.” Thanks to Lucretia and the Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund, more services will be provided that have proven to be lifelong tools to success.

Lucretia’s winning application to the Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund fell under the category of “Community Service.” Her proposal met the criteria to clearly present unique and achievable objectives to empower women or girls and ultimately improve society. It was selected from a pool of strong contenders by an expert panel of judges, including Suze Orman, America’s most recognized expert on personal finance. Another judge, Anne Dowling noted, “An example of how one woman who lived with such a situation not only became a productive citizen, but also dedicated herself to helping others.”

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