Baltimore Ravens Host Camp For Children With Imprisoned Parents

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OWINGS MILLS - In partnership with NFL Alumni, Prison Fellowship brought Angel Tree Sports Camps to the Baltimore Ravens Training Facility in Owings Mills.

According to Prison Fellowship, each kid left the Owings Mills camp yesterday with a backpack containing a pair of athletic shoes, a football, and an age-appropriate Bible.

Angel Tree sports camps are held two to three times a month at different venues across the United States. The camps started in 2005 and provide day-long events where kids practice basketball, cheer, soccer, ice skating, baseball, and bowling. Many kids who attend these camps would not otherwise have an opportunity to participate in a day camp.

According to the Maryland Governor's Office for Children, "It is estimated that on any given day, approximately 90,000 children in Maryland have a parent under some form of correctional supervision – parole, probation, jail or prison."

The Governor's Office for Children says that children of incarcerated parents can experience additional difficulties such as "family instability, higher rates of child welfare involvement, and post-traumatic effects such as hypervigilance, feelings of despair and powerlessness, and poor academic outcomes."

Angel Tree Camp's website includes many statements from youth who have benefitted from the program. Joseph, a former Angel Tree Sports Camps participant & current volunteer, says the camps positively impacted his life.

"Every time I stepped on the field with all of these coaches, they just pushed me and taught me right from wrong. I really appreciate this program because, without them, I wouldn't be standing right here. … They've been by my side, telling me 'good job' every step of the way."

The Baltimore Ravens have long sought to empower youth in the Baltimore community. Initiatives such as Toyota Community Touchdowns, where the Ravens and Toyota have partnered to fund research into early childhood developmental disorders.

The Ravens also provide $5000 scholarships to Baltimore area youth seeking a college education. The scholarships are awarded based on financial needs and academic achievement.

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