TODAY

TODAY   |  December 13, 2013

Nonprofit helps children of incarcerated parents

NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports on New Hope, a nonprofit dedicated to providing emotional support and programs for children of incarcerated parents.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back with our special series getting to the heart of christmas . for the 5th year in a row we teamed up with walmart to brighten the holiday season for great people. kerry sanders is here with details on that. good morning, happy holidays.

>> back at you. if i say the word prisoner you might just tune out. after all they committed a crime and they're in prison for a reason. but have you ever stopped to think about their children? after all, you can't choose who your mom or dad is. well, in tulsa , oklahoma, i had a chance to meet some of these innocent kids at an organization that is helping to change their lives. the tulsa fire department said no one would miss this party. ice and snow may stop cars but not these trucks. with kids that had no idea what was about to unfold. we wish you a merry christmas

>> reporter: on this day and in some cases for the first time, christmas includes the child's big joy, ripping open a present. but let's bring the celebrations to a stop for a moment so you better understand why these kids are different. it's all matter of fact for 9-year-old daisy why her dad, aunt, uncle, grandparents, and two older brother are not at home christmas or ever.

>> most of them are in jail.

>> so you won't see them.

>> i won't see them for a long time.

>> help your friends stand tall.

>> reporter: daisy is among 400 kids in tulsa that attend new hope. a year round nonprofit program that helps children with a parent in prison.

>> they really help me feel like i'm a part of something other than being alone.

>> i've heard people say sins of the father or all kinds of other things that makes me want to scream because it doesn't matter what your parents did. it doesn't matter who your parents are. this is an innocent child that deserves a fighting chance .

>> reporter: 26,000 children here in oklahoma have either a mother, a father, or booth doing time .

>> studies show that the future doesn't look great for those children. they're more likely to go to prison. they're more likely to become pregnant and drop out of high school .

>> reporter: but new hope is trying to change these children's odds. with after school programs, home visits, and summer camps. chase's parents are both convicted felons. he came to new hope at age 8. now 17. he is a straight a student headed to college.

>> it helped me so much and changed my entire outlook. i like to get back. i really do. i like to come here and volunteer twice a week and give back to what they did for me.

>> reporter: and for daisy .

>> when i first come here i had dyslexia and i didn't know how to spell things or read stuff. so i came here and this is a great spot and i really like it.

>> reporter: she still struggles with the learning disability new hope helped diagnose. i asked daisy to write what she wants for christmas . she wrote.

>> my friends.

>> reporter: look closely and then when pressed daisy asked for something else.

>> christmas holiday barbie 2001 .

>> reporter: after gathering lists from other new hope children, it was time to go shopping.

>> there's a computer.

>> skinny jeans . looking for skinny jeans .

>> walmart. walmart.

>> 3, 2, 1. merry christmas .

>> reporter: for the first time those so often forgotten --

>> look for your names.

>> reporter: now the center of attention.

>> i always wanted a camera.

>> brandon, here you go sweetheart. merry christmas .

>> reporter: oh, and of course daisy is thrilled. she now has what she wanted.

>> mine is a holiday barbie 2013 .

>> better turn her over. she is standing on her head. [ laughter ]

>> so daisy and all the kids are just so cute and appreciative. walmart also made sure that every kid left the party with a new winter jacket, bags of groceries for a special christmas dinner and gave new hope, art supplies , computers and tents and sheets and $10,000 in gift cards so they can keep other things going in the gift card .

>> hats off to them. that's a great idea. it really is and a well done story, kerry.

>> your favorite assignment all year.

>> you're still smiling.

>> i am.

>> those skinny jeans .