Miss America Brings Awareness for Metro Children with Incarcerated Parents
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – When a parent goes to prison, they’re not the only ones who can feel as if they’re behind bars. Children, spouses, and parents can feel that way too, and one young woman who many people know by her title knows exactly how they feel.
No crown, no flowers, no flowing gown. Miss America, Laura Kaeppeler, enters quietly smiling, happy to enter a place she wishes she had a few years ago – Gracious Promise in Kansas City, Kansas.
Gracious Promise is a place for family members of those who are or have been incarcerated.
“It was the hardest time in my life,” Kaeppeler said.
Miss America knows what they’re going through.
“I once was one. So having walked in those shoes and down that path, I understand what those children are going through,” Kaeppeler said.
When she was a teenager, Kaeppeler’s father was in federal prison for a year and a half.
“For me it was something that I felt very embarrassed about and ashamed of, and was something that was completely out of my control,” she explained.
Her mission now is to mentor children with incarcerated parents which brings her here. Kaeppeler tours the facility which has nearly everything to take care of physical and emotional needs of those it serves.
“It takes community to step up and help make that change,” Miller said.
One of their main goals is to not allow children of the incarcerated to follow their parents path. Gracious Promise’s executive director says right now about seven in aten children with incarcerated parents end up in prison themselves.
“I felt very limited in terms of future possibilities because of something like I said that I did not do, but knowing that you can rise above that and move on is really powerful,” Kaeppeler said.
Laura Kaeppeler rose above, and she believes others can too. Kaeppeler says she and her father now have a good relationship, and she’s looking forward to going to law school after her reign as Miss America is over.
To find out more about Gracious Promise and the work they do in the metro, click here.
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