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Local children to receive 'A Father's Blessing' for Christmas

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Updated: 12/26/2013 10:24 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Twenty families will receive a video message as a gift from a loved one who is incarcerated this Christmas.

Lakisha Stokes, a mother of four, said, "It's a good blessing. He wants to let them know that he don't want to end up where he's at."

Stokes said her children's father, Calvin Washington, has been in jail for six months and won't be home for Christmas.

Stokes said, "My little boy was upset. He said he's not going to be here to help fix my truck."

Washington is one of the inmates at the Montgomery Correctional Facility sharing a special message to his four children.
Operation Save Our Sons and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office made it possible by allowing the organization to go into the facility to film the messages for the first time.

"I think it's going to be joy. It's going to be sadness, because seeing them and not touching them, I think it's going to be hope and the hope is going to be that daddy's coming home soon," pastor John Guns said.

Tara Wildes, JSO Director of Department of Corrections, said, "It's easy to buy a gift but words of wisdom and letting them know what they're going through and letting them know not to make the same mistake can last a lifetime."

The goal of the program is to stop the cycle of crime and to keep children from making these same mistakes.
Stokes said these few months have been tough being a single parent but at least this holiday they can share it with their dad.

Stokes added, "They are going to be so surprised to see that their father is going out of his way making sure his kids have the Christmas that they want."

Washington is scheduled to get out of jail March 18.

Families will watch the videos at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church.

JSO said the inmates who are participating are in jail short term.

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