Laura Kaeppeler, of Kenosha, Wi., who was named Miss America 2012 this weekend, has chosen as her theme for the year “Circles of Support: Mentoring children of incarcerated parents,” reports the Kenosha News. Kaeppeler is 23. At 17, her father was sent to federal prison for a year for a white collar crime.
She sees a need for mentoring children of imprisoned parents because of the negative influences in their lives. “It's everyday life for millions of children,” she says. “And it allows me to connect with people on a level they don't expect a pageant contestant to connect with them. This is a real problem people can relate to.” She has received many letters, phone calls, and emails from parents in prison. She spent time talking to 200 inmates at Wisconsin’s Racine Correctional Institute and their families.