By Lt. Michael A. Tuntakit, PIO/Administrative Assistant ASP

What can a girl achieve?

These are not words you typically hear from staff and inmates in a men’s prison. However, these are words being spoken through the halls of Avenal State Prison (ASP) this year.

Avenal State Prison staff have been supporting to Junior Girl Scout Troop 2930.  ASP hosted booth events for fall products and cookies, and staff pitched in for their Bronze Project “Helping Hands.”

With “Helping Hand,” staff members from Avenal State Prison, Pleasant Valley State Prison, Coalinga Police Department, Coalinga Fire Department and City of Coalinga-City Hall, donated clothing items and toys for Fresno County Foster children.

The “Helping Hands” project produced 10 bins of donated clothing in various sizes, four bins of miscellaneous items – including school items, shoes and bedding – and two bags of toys. The inmate population even got involved with supporting the efforts of “Inspiring Girls to Achieve Great Things” by hosting a food sale for the Girl Scouts Connect Program, donating $440.80.

The Connect Program trains mentors who take the Girl Scout experience directly to girls in rural communities like Avenal. They learn values, and practical and leadership skills.

The girls are motivated to stay in school, avoid negative behaviors, and become productive citizens.

“Avenal State Prison were so enthusiastic to help our girls with the booth sales and then their Bronze Project, it is humbling to see such a big organization take to the kids,” said Corrinne Macleod, Junior Troop 2930 Co-Leader. “It is amazing to see the show of support from the staff and administration; they were great and so friendly.  We appreciated the opportunity to be allowed to booth and with the help on ‘Helping Hands.’ ”