Prisoners in transition swing into action to rebuild play set for foster kids

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The work crew with TFI advocate, Terese Grinnell (center) and TWC officer, Dana Johnson (far left). Courtesy Photo

CONCORD, NH — Krista Tesseyman believes in the old adage, it takes a village to raise a child. But she doesn’t just believe it, she lives it. Tesseyman started fostering two children, Cyrus, 9, and Bailey, 8, four years ago. After an arduous adoption process, they now call her mom.

The two children were heartbroken recently when a storm caused a tree to fall on their play structure, destroying it. Tesseyman sprang into action, looking for a way to replace the structure without breaking the bank. She posted her request to Facebook and it was answered by TFI advocate, Terese Grinnell. TFI stands for The Forgotten Initiative – a group who supports foster care families through “services projects, mentoring and family support initiatives.”

Thanks to a “good Samaritan,” a used play structure was found, but Grinnell needed transportation and manpower to disassemble and move the heavy structure. That’s when Transitional Work Center (TWC) Officer Dana Johnson and his work crew stepped in.

The TWC work crew reassembling the play structure. Courtesy Photo

TWC residents live outside the prison walls but still on prison grounds. Residents who are within two years from completing their minimum sentence and have completed all the required programming can live at the TWC and take part in the work programs associated with the unit as they begin the transitioning process to life outside prison. TWC is the step before the halfway house.

On April 15, the team of five disassembled the structure, loaded it onto a U-Haul truck (donated by Concord U-Haul) and reassembled it at Tesseyman’s home just in time for the final reveal to her kids.

Cyrus and Bailey are excited to have a new swing set! Courtesy Photo

Cyrus and Bailey were overjoyed with their new swing set! Tesseyman said she appreciates the kindness shown to her family and describes the five TWC workers as, “thorough, thoughtful and meticulous”.

“Fostering to adopt is a long, emotional process,” she wrote. “It isn’t until you’re living your lives that you realize how much you need a village to get you through some of the harder times.” Tesseyman certainly got her “village” that day.

Grinnell says they have more projects on the horizon and look forward to collaborating with the NHDOC in the future.

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NH Department of Corrections