Rotary Club of Fisherman's Wharf

San Francisco

Project Avary: Ending Generational Incarceration

Project Avary, a nonprofit based in San Rafael, serves children who have a parent in prison with the goal of  ending generational incarceration. Members learned about this worthwhile program from Zach Whelan, Executive Director, and Amy DeLeon, Director of Community Resources.

The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and one in 28 children has a parent in prison, totaling 5 million children. 

“We commit to work with kids for ten years,” Zach said. In addition to a week-long summer camp, Project Avary sponsors weekend outings  –– hiking, camping, kayaking –– with activities that teach life skills, build character and, most important, “give kids a sense of belonging.”

Zach said Project Avary annually accepts 25 new kids, who are referred to the program by counselors, and currently serves 125 children and 90 caregivers. Its $850,000 budget is supported by donations, grants and fundraisers. The per-child cost is $2,500 a year.

We were joined this week by four international Rotarian guests: Sven Inabnit of Basel, Switzerland, Shaun Lennard of Hobart, Tasmania, and Andrea Siniscalco and wife, Svetlana Nikolic of Milan, Italy.