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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Mentoring program helps children of inmates cope

By Dana Boone | 07.30.08 | 9:55 am

More than 400 Des Moines-area children who have a parent in an Iowa prison could benefit from a national mentoring program that is looking for social service agencies across the state to host the program.

Children “do the time right alongside of their parents,” said Lisa Thorpe-Vaugn, president of Non-Profit Leadership Training Institute and a program administrator from Pittsburg, Pa.

Caregiver’s Choice is a national program that pairs adult mentors with children who have a parent who is incarcerated. Creative Visions, a Des Moines social service agency led by Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad (D-Des Moines), plans to offer the program, Abdul-Samad said.

Thorpe-Vaughn said the problems of incarceration affect children in urban, suburban and rural communities across the country. There are 10 million children between the ages of 4-18 who have one or both parents in prison, she said.

“This is one of the worst epidemics,” she said. “We could fill school districts up just with children who have parents incarcerated.”

Children of incarcerated parents face a higher risk of being incarcerated, she said. About 65 percent of the children of prisoners will one day find themselves incarcerated, said Thorpe-Vaughn who visited Iowa prisons last week during a recruitment effort iniatiated by Rev. M.D. Eppright. She spoke to Iowa prisoners — some who had 10 or more children, she said. The average prisoner has about three children, she said.

Amy Shull, 34, spent eight years in the women’s prison in Mitchellville and will be on parole for four years. She applauds the program and the fact that mentors continue working with children once their parent returns home from prison.

“This is a very good program for us mothers who were in there and who are trying to improve our lives and want to see our childen do well,” Shull said recently during an informational event at Creative Visions.

The federally-funded program began eight years ago with mentors from churches and universities. The mentors were asked to commit one hour each week for a year. The program was successful at finding mentors, but struggled to find the children to mentor even though statistically, organizers knew there were plenty of children needing help, she said.The mentors, who must undergo background checks and home visits and who are matched with a same gender mentee, get a $1,000 voucher that is given to a non-profit agency of their choice for use in mentoring the child. The agency gets the money to support the match and support the child, Thorpe-Vaughn said. The money could, for example, be used to pay for educational materials if the mentor noticed the child was struggling academically, she said.

The mentor program is already underway in social service programs in Davenport, Sioux Falls, Dubuque and Cedar Rapids, she said.


  • James Condren

    I think the Mentoring programs should be extended to aduilt inmates who have an intellectraul disability in prison and after release and those at risk of contact with the criminal justice systerm

  • James Condren

    I think the Mentoring programs should be extended to aduilt inmates who have an intellectraul disability in prison and after release and those at risk of contact with the criminal justice systerm

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