WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) --- Hope House DC gives children time with their fathers who are behind bars.
The non-profit hosts a week-long, free summer camp.
During camp children (9 - 14 years old) play basketball, enjoy arts and crafts and attend other activities with their fathers inside prison.
"Just because their dad is in prison, don't mean that they stopped being a dad," said Brenda Marbury, Family Outreach Coordinator for Hope House DC.
Marbury's daughter visited her father in an Ohio prison years ago before he was released. The daughter was 11 years old at the time.
"Who is the first man that a little girl loves. It's her daddy," Marbury said.
Carol Fennelly is the founder of Hope House DC.
When fathers go to prison, children feel abandoned, she explained.
"What tends to happen at summer camp is that kids leave knowing that they're cherished and loved," said Fennelly.
"Most kids tend to do better in school, tend to behave better,
tend to have fewer issues once they have a camp experience for their dads," she added.
The connection with dad continues through an ongoing reading program. Fathers record DVDs of themselves reading books to their children.
Hope House DC strives to keep the connection alive between father and child, so when the father comes home from prison, they stay out of prison for good.
Marbury's daughter is now an adult.
"She has a family of her own now, and [Hope House DC] taught her how to keep the bond together with her own family," Marbury said.
NOTE: Gannett Foundation has donated to Hope House DC.
Written by: Elizabeth Jia
9NEWS NOW & WUSA9.com