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In Australia's diverse charity sector, there are thousands of fantastic stories about the impact charities have on their communities.

We recently spoke with registered charity Second Chances SA about its programs, the most rewarding part of its work and its biggest challenge.

second chances sa family

What does your charity do?

Second Chances SA is a non-profit volunteer organisation committed to restoring hope to lives affected by crime in South Australia. Our programs are custom-designed to equip prisoners’ kids to create better futures for themselves. We provide prisoners with practical support (property storage and banking) and friendship. For children and families, we provide nine annual mentoring camps, family care through full-time support workers and birthday and Christmas presents on behalf of imprisoned parents.

Transformed lives result in social impact, economic benefit and common good.

What is the ultimate goal for your charity?

Second Chances SA diverts youth from detention, especially the children of prisoners who are seven times more likely to go to prison than their peers. If a child is indigenous they are 21 times more likely to go to prison than other children.

Not their crime. Not their fault! We want to give prisoner’s kids hope and a chance to live a crime free life enabling them to make good choices for their own lives away from the criminal pathway chosen by their parent.

What is the most rewarding part?

The most rewarding part of our work at Second Chances SA is seeing people and families transformed. Each day is different. Some days the reward is hearing from a mum her child is overjoyed to have received a birthday present from his imprisoned dad; or a child having a mentor they met on a prisoner's kids Mentoring Camp. It can be seeing a prisoner’s eyes light up when they realise they now have someone in their lives who they can genuinely trust. Some days the reward is helping a struggling family or a recently released prisoner get on their feet with a home furniture package.

What is the biggest challenge faced by your charity?

The biggest challenge for us and those we support is overcoming negative community biases and reducing the burden of the stigma children of prisoners carry, because they are largely overlooked. If we as a society don’t believe in restitution and a second chance for those who are ready to start again, what hope is there for those trapped in the criminal justice system? Educating the community at-large about the positive role we can all play in building crime-free communities is a challenge we address through consistent advocacy and awareness-raising. We exist to help those who want to change – we are offering them a ‘second chance’.

Find out more about Second Chances SA on their website or via their social media channels:

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