Skip to main content

Science Fun at Larch Corrections Center

October 20, 2021

By Tim Kelly

Communications Office

(Tim Kelly, Communications Office)

Schools may have been on summer break but that didn’t stop incarcerated fathers at Larch Corrections Center in Yacolt, Washington from hosting their annual science fair. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, the facility took the science fair virtual.

The fathers filmed individual videos and taught their children how to make ice cream and used ingredients that families might already have or could be easily bought for the kids to try.

“These programs are important for the fathers because it reminds them of who is waiting for them at home and more importantly it provides a connection for their children,” said Corrections Specialist Nancy Simmons. “They get to see their dads being fun and silly and these videos can be watched over and over so when they’re missing their dad, they can see him.”

Larch Corrections Center is starting a pilot project using Big Life Journals, which will have the children and fathers complete and discuss worksheets. This helps to build confidence and increase self-esteem, growth mindset, and resilience in children.

Programs, like science fairs, help the department in its mission to improve public safety by positively changing lives through giving individuals the opportunity to continue teaching and mentoring their children. It also supports people’s success, a department value, by instilling hope, embracing change and providing opportunities. This is an opportunity that Tyrrell Oliver is happy to have.

“It makes me feel good that I can touch them mentally and emotionally while being so far away physically,” said Oliver.

Simmons said the fathers were at first nervous to make the videos but had a great time bonding as a group. She plans on organizing more interactive events during the holidays.