And He Said…”I’ve Already Done It “(Broken the Cycle of Family Incarceration)

Such are the words of Hector, a student and role model of the “No More Victims” organization (  in Houston, Texas.  This young man was but one fine example of overcoming much more than the usual slings and arrows of life.  Children of incarcerated parents …and their extended family are typically unwanted by their biological families, by school systems and society in general.  They are the “throwaways,” called failures and a lot worse….desperately trying to find their way in life. These children know only hopelessness and the dark side of life.   Who was and continues to be there to save them, to mold them, to serve as a surrogate loving Mama since the year 2000?  Marilyn Gambrell, a former parole officer and Texas State Administrator.  She saw the human toll and the incredible need.  She said “Enough is enough.  I must act.”  Her heart is always on her sleeve, and tears flow often and freely…. However, her amazing ability to inspire and assist children to take control of their lives and instill hope, responsibility and self-esteem is nothing less than miracles continuously strung together…

Listen to Marilyn Gambrell and a group of her students:  CLICK HERE



  • Ø The impetus for “No More Victims”  Children grabbing the legs of police officers as they incarcerate parents and the story of a two-year old;
  • Ø A life program… Newborns forward. ‘You’re in for Life”
  • Ø Responsibilities and accountability in order to join “No More Victims”
  • Ø Discussion of the structure of “No More Victims”  within the community  and Marilyn’s rightful role  (School based, correction based and community based);
  • Ø What they  do at the penitentiary and the importance of consistency;
  • Ø “My children are not going to the penitentiary, Bottom line.  But you have to show them the way”;
  • Ø Sharday speaks – Her story of family incarceration, “the hardest part” and the “good part”… “We have no one to go to…. But Marilyn and NMV”;
  • Ø Eric speaks –Eloquent Introduction ; discusses his former pain… Just learned he was adopted and another tragic death… abuse, molestation;  a future Social work major;
  • Ø Marilyn on her curriculum- unstructured support and discussion; community service projects, referrals to others for vmental health issues and other serious matters;
  • Ø *** Misdiagnosis:  No need for special education once they release their pain: “Our system is so off-base in the U.S.”
  • Ø  Moni speaks – “A superstar athlete” A release for a really bad anger problem…. “Now I make A’s and B’s”;
  • Ø Marilyn – “You have to chose to be in our family.” Series of painful questions… you have to earn your way in… maintain confidentiality, agree to a list of rules and have 100% consensus with everyone voting you in…
  • Ø Hector speaks– Frequency of meetings; weekend work; one to one “anytime calls to “Mamma G”; ‘Many family members incarcerated…                   I needed help; We go to school all over the country …but we have to keep in touch…
  • Ø The impact of her program – Contacts from 16 other counties and all over the U.S.  The downside… schools turning a “deaf ear” No matter how rich or poor these children are all over the world.”
  • Ø “Not a typical program…. These children are way, way ahead in terms of life experience… They need real proof that you aren’t leaving them”;
  • Ø Train the Trainer.  The kids are the trainers… Most effective.  Children trust children more versus adults;  Stopping the self-destruction;                        A beautiful mixture of reality and wanting to heal and  more forward ;
  • Ø Chat room Question for Hector –   “What do you want differently than what your incarcerated parents have done?”   “…I want to prove people wrong…” Discusses career goals; 
  • Ø Delilah asks: Will you be the one to break the cycle versus the acceptance of a life of crime?  Hector:  “I already have… I’m proving it right now…”
  • Ø Tina speaks- Introduction to her story… “I’m the only one in my whole family to finish high school and go to college.  Dispelling the myths;
  • Ø Hurting inside…. How do you begin to stop the hurt? – Join “No More Victims” and making friends….  Her Career Goals… ;
  • Ø Live Phone Call from Theresa–   Kudos to Marilyn and compliments to Hector and Tina!
  • Ø Marilyn – “We want to be in every state, every city, every school in the nation”
  • Ø Workshops in the making–;  Five scheduled through December; NMV Website:
  • Ø;
  • Ø New in-roads for “Shattered Lives”
  • Ø Future workshops will be scheduled in Houston with the children as presenters as they are experts re the failings of social services;
  • Ø Kerry speaks – Childhood experiences – father incarcerated throughout his life… The “backbone of my anger.”  Poetry as the best healer;
  • Ø Marilyn – Seven new schools in the making   and a newsletter planned for the future;  Kerry is an awesome poet and singer;
  • Ø Donated goods needed such as:  food,  gas cards, gift cards, school  supplies, first aide supplies, personal hygiene items, via PayPal;
  • Ø Getting more space in a local  Houston school – South side satellite office;
  • Ø A stellar example of academic excellence – College Graduate with both parents incarcerated…  Who graduated from LSU with honors … the first African American to be awarded the Truman scholar and is attending Columbia University working on his Doctorate!   Woo Hoo!
  • Ø  Lifetime Movie- “Fighting the Odds “ emanated from business journal – US News World Report Magazine….  They got five pages in a business journal!
  • Ø Jami Gertz- the actress portraying  Marilyn;
  • Ø to  purchase.   Marilyn:  “I’m ready to go another round like an HBO documentary”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s