"I never would have thought that the father of my children would end up in prison serving a four year term. It just wasn’t my life. Yet one day, it was. I wasn’t sure what to expect of him or how our relationship would weather this storm. I wasn’t sure how my family was going to look throughout the sentence and especially how it would look when he was released. What people fail to realize is that it’s not just the prisoner who serves time. The whole family itself receives that same sentence and suffers in ways that the prisoner does not.
While in prison, Damien linked up with The RIDGE Project and I couldn’t imagine the blessing that it would bring. Damien was never a bad father or a bad man to me, however, I always knew that he wasn’t doing his best. He had more to give he was just too caught up in other things to apply himself. TYRO Dads taught him how necessary it was to step up and be the man that his family needed. Couple Communication 1 & 2 taught us how to deal with conflict and solve problems in a healthy way. However, those programs alone weren’t what taught him or any of those other men all of the necessary lessons; it was the relationships formed by the facilitators with them that impacted them the most. They were real life examples of men who were doing exactly what they were teaching. They were who they said they were and they held Damien and all those other men to the same standards.
I couldn’t have imagined that after a forty-one month prison time that my family would emerge stronger, healthier and more functional than it had beforehand. Damien is no longer the father of my children, he’s my husband and my best friend. Our whole relationship I always felt like I was trying to teach him how to parent and I find myself now learning lessons from him. The RIDGE Project helped to give me a better version of my husband and gave my children a better version of their father and I am forever grateful for what they do.” - Christina Beauford