Yes, Miss America was in the house.
The children of AISD’s Allison Elementary sang a lovely medley of patriotic songs, followed by “There She Is, Miss America” as Laura Kaeppeler entered the room. They then delighted her with a rousing chorus of “On Wisconsin” in honor of her home state.
Laura said, “That was amazing! No one has ever done that for me before!”
She was as charmed as the rest of the capacity crowd at the Seedling Foundation Mentor Appreciation Event.
Miss Kaeppeler was the keynote speaker for the event, and after hearing about the Seedling Mentor Program, meeting many of the Mentors, Supporters and School Contacts that make the program so successful, she gave an impassioned speech about being one of those children.
She said, “I wish your program had been there for me.”
At Seedling, we hear this sentiment many times each year, from adults who struggled with the issue in their youth, and from parents who are struggling with it now for their children who have a parent in prison. They speak of the isolation, of feeling different from everyone else, and of being afraid that others will condemn or judge them for their parents’ actions.
Miss America expressed those same feelings and said that although her father is definitely on the right track, the family will be forever affected by the experience.
Laura Kaeppeler gets it. In her closing statement, she affirmed the power of mentoring and said, “These kids may grow up to be the next President, the next Astronaut…or the next Miss America!”
She graciously posed with the two 2012 Seedling College Scholarship Graduates and with the three new Seedling College Scholarship winners and their families, Mentors and even their School Principals. It was a proud moment for everyone there, and our goal of making even more people aware of the challenges that children with parents in prison face, and what Seedling’s Mentor Program does to meet them, was fulfilled.
Thank you, Miss America. You are indeed, our ideal.
~Kali’ P. Rourke, Seedling Foundation Board President