Taking Girl Scouts Beyond Bars
Jolaunda LuperClient, Girls Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma
In the last 10 years, Shannon and Jolaunda Luper have helped thousands of Girl Scouts reunite with their mothers in prison.
This mother-daughter team and a group of volunteers transport girls to prisons where they hold scout meetings through the Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program, offered by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma. Presently, 477 girls are enrolled in the program.
“We offer the girls structure and guidance through the scouting program,” Shannon says. “But we also provide parenting classes for the women in prison.”
Inmates receive days off their sentences for participating in the program, offered in conjunction with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
As a former abuser of alcohol and drugs, Shannon avoided incarceration but gained an appreciation for mothers at risk.
Today she serves as staff director of Beyond Bars. Her daughter Jolaunda, 21, a life-long Girl Scout, accompanies her mother to the prisons.
“Girl Scouts has kept me off the streets,” Jolaunda admits. “Scouting has helped me find role models and communicate better with people.”
Jolaunda’s six-year-old daughter Maria is also a Girl Scout, selling the most cookies in her first grade class at Eugene Field Elementary School.