Mission & Work


Our Mission

is to enhance the lives of those students who have been impacted by the pain of the prison system—those with incarcerated loved ones and those who have been incarcerated themselves. We establish and sustain high-school clubs that offer students community and emotional support as well as opportunities to publish the writings and artwork they create through the club.


No one shall have to struggle alone or bear the shame, stigma and sorrow too often connected to those who endure the pain of the prison system.

Who We Are

Our first club began in February 2013 at Venice High School. Since that time we have expanded to create clubs at Belmont High, Culver High, El Camino Real Charter High, James Monroe High, Los Angeles High School of the Arts (LAHSA), Lawndale High School, Santa Monica High. Clubs recently launched in at Renaissance Academy in Baltimore and Steelton Highspire High School in Harrisburg. Pops the Club publishes POPS students’ work on a website and in annual anthologies and trains all POPS school-based sponsors and volunteers. We are always looking to create alliances with like-minded organizations. Our Board of Directors provides support and mission-based leadership and strategic governance. Day-to-day operations are led by Amy Friedman, Executive Director, Sonia Faye, our Deputy Director, Arielle Harris, Program Manager and Volunteer Coordinator, Lauren Marks, Communications Manager, Bianca Lopez and a team of POPS the Club graduate ambassadors, and an ever-expanding team of passionate, devoted, spirited and generous volunteers.

What We Do

We sit together, eat lunch together, write, read and tell each other our stories. We listen to guest speakers, we address each other’s fears, questions and concerns. We participate in mindfulness exercises. We write and perform and publish our stories (on this website, in annual anthologies, on The Good Men Project). We connect with others whose sorrows and struggles resonate with our own. As a result of our work together, we build resilience and a sense of belonging.

The Research

A Shared Sentence, The Annie E. Casey Foundation found connections between parental incarceration and childhood health and behavior problems. Parental incarceration has also been linked to poor mental and physical health in adulthood. A recent study by Child Trends makes evident the importance of POPS to young people whose lives have been impacted by the Pain of the Prison System.

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