FORT WORTH — The Dallas Mavericks and Mavs Foundation, along with community sponsor Chime, came together this week to dedicate a new resource center at Volunteers of America Texas for mothers in the MINT program who are pregnant or have just given birth.

MINT (Mothers and Infants Nurturing Together) is a unique program for incarcerated women who come to the Federal Bureau of Prisons expecting to deliver a child.

The women enter the program at about seven months into their pregnancy and spend the next two months preparing for the birth of their child by attending classes and registering for public aid programs.

After the baby’s birth, they will spend the next three months building a bond with their child before returning to their correctional facility. In some cases, the mothers are released after completion of the program.

Officials say MINT is the “best kept secret” that shouldn’t be a secret because it’s so amazing.

In the past, some judges have even included the MINT program as part of the mother’s sentencing. Mothers who have participated in the MINT program say their entire outlook on life changed when they spent time at VOA Texas.

“These are amazing acts of love that we share with our clients,” said Mike King, President and CEO of Volunteers of America. “They feel loved by the community and not rejected. That’s important for the women’s recovery. The community love puts them and their babies on the right path. So, you have made an incredible contribution here today.”

Dallas Maverick rookie first-rounder O-Max Prosper attended Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony along with representatives from the Dallas Mavs, Dallas Wings and Mavs Foundation.

“It’s important for us to give back to our community with the platform we have,” Prosper said. “I feel responsible for helping others because God has blessed us with this amazing opportunity to play basketball at the highest level and to be in the position we are. It’s our responsibility to help those who need our support. It’s great to play basketball, but there’s more to life than basketball. I sit back and ask, ‘how can I help others? What can I do to help others?’ How can I inspire the next generation and make a difference?’ And that’s why I feel like this is so important. I wanted to be here and today was special.”

Katie Edwards is the President of the Mavs Foundation. She said the Mavs are proud to support VOA Texas.

“We are so happy to be here and just thrilled to be doing the official ribbon-cutting today in the new space for the MINT program,” Edwards said during the ceremony. “The Mavs Foundation builds a stronger community by empowering women, children, and families in need. This program resonated with our board, and the support you provide these women and their infants and everything you do for them aligns with us. We’re also thankful for our partners with the Dallas Wings with us today.”

Tuesday’s unveiling of the new space felt like a baby shower at times and the beautiful space is both welcoming and nurturing for the mothers and their newborns.

The Mavs added special touches all throughout the facility, including an inspirational mural in the resource center room.

“Just to see the words on the mural is powerful. There are sayings like, ‘I am beautiful, I am confident,’” Prosper explained. “All these words reinforce who they are, and it will help them grow into great mothers. It helps them to become better people in society. It’s great to see the Mavs taking time to do something like this for the mothers and infants.”

Emily Honeycutt with the Dallas Mavs oversaw the project, and she said the team made a diligent effort to add personal touches throughout the space to create a stress-free environment for both mothers and babies alike.

She proudly stood back and looked over the completed project. In many ways, this was her “baby” and she saw it through from the very beginning.

Lives will be changed forever here, and she knows the newly renovated space will create lasting memories for the families.

“We included a lot of resources so they can learn about their pregnancies and know what to expect,” Honeycutt said. “This collaborative space really can be used in all sorts of ways. We also provided new technology and learning materials to complete their course work.”

She said the Mavs Foundation expanded the renovation efforts to the living quarters once they finished the resource center.

“We provided new recliners, a new couch, a media console, tables, lamps, and decor,” she said. “The idea was to create a ‘homey’ feel for when they brought their child into the world. We are really excited about the updated space. We hope it will touch the lives of the women and their babies.”

Mothers can come into the resource room and complete their GED or start college courses and learn everything possible about being a mother, Honeycutt added.

The renovated space was also designed for meetings with doctors and other professionals who help the mothers transition during their stay.

The Mavs added new baby books, scrapbooking kits, newborn beanies, diapers, and other special goodies.

“It really brings a human experience to these women’s lives at a pivotal moment in their lives,” Honeycutt shared. “It allows incarcerated women to have a wonderful time with their new child.”

Last summer, the Mavs Foundation donated a new tech center at VOATX to help improve the lives of formerly incarcerated individuals as they transition back into society. The organization received another technology grant this past year from the Mavs Foundation to upgrade the MINT facility.

The Mavs purposely created a bright, inspiring room to spark renewal and hope for the mothers the MINT program serves.

Prosper signed the baby blue mural to make sure the mothers know they have the support of their hometown NBA team.

It was a day of new beginnings.

The writing on the wall summed it up best: “I am grateful and deserving. I am smart. I am a success.”

“It’s amazing to be part of this and be here today,” Prosper said. “I’m glad to be able to help my new community here in Dallas. We are going to help these women and these infants. It’s a great opportunity.”

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