Group offers faith-based practices to parents coping with youth incarceration

Posted at 7:20 PM, May 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-11 16:02:21-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — A faith-based group program is offering help to parents of at-risk youth at the Davidson County Juvenile Detention Center.

Pastor Travis Claybrooks of The Way LifeChurch introduced the program to parents in February 2017.

"We took on trying to start up something to support families of kids in detention. We realized or learned that every weekend they visit their young people in detention so we said let's come set up some food, and let's actually just meet and hear and be present and from that discover what needs are," Claybrooks said.

The group meets every Saturday from about noon to 3 p.m. Claybrooks, who is also a former Metro Police officer, said he noticed there were not many programs in the community that would offer help to parents whose children were incarcerated.

"Everybody is hurting in this space so our goal has just to really come alongside families who are grieving the loss of their child you know 15, 16, 17 years old and just to provide support and encouragement to them. Sometimes they are frustrated or sometimes they have questions about the court process," he said.

One mother, Gloria Berkley, was introduced to the group back in 2017. Her son, Alex, had been charged with homicide when he was 16-years-old. Berkley, who lives in Bordeaux, said she somehow stumbled upon The Way program visiting him one day at the detention center.

"I came down to visit my son Alex who had just recently been arrested and they were here. It was wonderful having someone here just to lean on, someone to pray with, someone to talk to about what was going on. It's hard, I just pray a lot," she said.

Berkley said Alex, now 19, loved playing basketball.

"When I first started coming I would just hold him, just stand and hold him. Then after awhile, they told me I couldn't do that so I would just sit down and hold his hand and we would just talk. I really truly don't know where I would be right now if they hadn't been here. I really believe that God placed them here for me. I really believe that," she said.

Claybrooks said he even attends the court dates of some of the children. He welcomes anyone suffering, even parents who lost a child in a violent situation.

For more information, contact the Raphah Institute at 615-601-1709.