Pelipost Donating 2,000 Masks

Pelipost is more than an app devoted to printing pictures for your incarcerated loved ones. We are always working to make it easier to stay connected and also to make a difference in the lives of those affected by incarceration. That’s why Pelipost is donating 2,000 masks!

The Pelipost Team packing 2000 masks.
The Pelipost Team packing 2000 masks.

Prisons and jails are being hit hard by the coronavirus because of how difficult it is to accomplish social distancing inside correctional facilities. Concerns have been circulating not just among those who are incarcerated, but also among those who work there. Cook County Jail is one of many facilities that has been hit hard by this pandemic. Pelipost has taken action to help.

Joseph Calderon (Pelipost CEO) packing masks.

Pelipost is donating 2,000 masks to the inmates and staff of Cook County Jail to help contain the spread. The masks were officially shipped on Friday, May 15.

Here at Pelipost, we are committed to doing our part in order to keep inmates and correctional staff safe during this pandemic. We are happy to be able to take part in slowing the spread of COVID-19. We’re all in this together!

Don’t forget to send your incarcerated loved ones photos! You can download the Pelipost app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Helping Children with Incarcerated Parents

The Pelipost Team had a busy holiday season from our Giving Tuesday campaign to sponsoring the XO Factor, Inc. Adopt-A-Family event. Pelipost is proud to give back to multiple organizations who help families impacted by incarceration.

Did you know….

1-in-28 American children have an incarcerated parent.

Making a Difference

Bethany McNeil is the founder of XO Factor, Inc., a non-profit organization with a mission to assist men, women, children, and families in rebuilding their lives after incarceration. With that being said, they are able to provide returning citizens with the services, support, and skills needed to become employed and self-sufficient.

Our CEO, Joseph Calderon, at the XO Factor, Inc. Adopt-A-Family Event.

Adopt-A-Family Event

Pelipost was a proud sponsor of the XO Factor, Inc. Adopt-A-Family event which provides children with gifts from their incarcerated parents. The Pelipost Team attended the event on December 16, 2019 to wrap gifts that would ultimately be delivered to children during the holidays.

Sponsors of the Adopt-A-Family Event.
The Pelipost Team wrapping gifts at the Adopt-A-Family Event.

Our CEO, Joseph Calderon, and our COO, Becky Calderon, shared their personal story with incarceration and how it effects all parties involved. They also brought awareness to the importance of staying connected to your incarcerated loved ones. Photos are a great way to share life’s special moments.

It brought great joy to our hearts to connect with families who have used XO Factor as a resource to better their lives upon release. Listening to the speakers share their experiences with recidivism and how they’ve made a point to give back to the community was amazing. We left the event truly inspired and ready to make an even bigger difference in 2020. Thank you XO Factor for all your great work in our community!

Don’t forget to send your incarcerated loved ones photos! You can download the Pelipost app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

The Bigger Picture: Motivation

Pelipost is more than an app devoted to printing pictures for your incarcerated loved ones. We believe in the importance of family reintegration far exceeds the physical product in hand. REMAINING CONNECTED is the BIGGER PICTURE. 

In this second post in our two-part blog series we continue chatting with our co-founder, Becky Calderon, and explore the significant importance PRINTED photos had with motivation in mind. Make sure to check out Part 1 of the blog series also!

“Give me a reason to fight!”

-Becky Calderon

Preventing Recidivism From Prison

Did you know the United States has one of the highest recidivism rates in the world? Roughly 76% of our incarcerated loved ones return to prison within the first five years of their release. The reasons vary from person to person but here are some common reasons for recidivism:

  • Lack of Employment- due to criminal record or lack of employable skills
  • Incarceration doesn’t fix the addiction (trauma coping)
  • Mental Health & Wellness
  • Overwhelmed by Reintegration into Society
  • Influences and Lifestyle Choices

When I was in the maximum-security prison, I shared a cell with 8 other women. We were each in there for a variety of reasons but we all had one thing in common: Trauma. We are all suffering from some form of unspoken trauma rooted at the core of our identities. For some, these scenarios lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms (poor decision making, addiction, co-dependent relationships, etc) and if left unresolved continue to repeat themselves.

With that said, most of the incarcerated individuals I shared space with were familiar with life behind bars. It wasn’t their first experience and it wouldn’t be there last either. To my surprise, there were so many mothers sharing the same facility as their adult daughters. These families grow old together behind bars while their children and grandchildren await their return. Unfortunately, nothing changes when they are released so they return over and over again.

Photos Reminded Me of My Motivation

I remember vividly thinking: “I REFUSE to end up back in here and end my life on a negative note.” As much as photos validated my life outside of prison…. they also reminded me that I had a reason to fight for a better life once I was released.

The most painful day of my life wasn’t the day I was sentenced… it was actually the day of my son’s graduation from college. For me to be in prison on that day was the ultimate punishment. All his little life, I only had one goal! To see him succeed into adulthood and graduate college. Every little award ceremony, sports game, you name it…. I was in attendance taking photos and beaming with pride. To miss Joseph’s college graduation day was like MISSING THE ULTIMATE REWARD. Thus, you can imagine the importance having those photos from that day would have on my spirit.

Joe’s College Graduation with his Grandparents

I used pictures as the foundational reminder to do the WORK while I was doing my time. What is ‘Work’, you ask? There are countless programs, intensive support groups and resources available while you’re in prison. These programs are free but there is one stipulation: YOU HAVE TO WANT HELP to GET HELP! I remember one program that really made me deal with some heavy things from my past. I had to face my childhood trauma head on and it was painful. People don’t want to dig that deep because it hurts. If I wanted to get well and prepare for a healthy life outside of prison, I knew I needed to truly seek healing in my heart. Because of my son’s involvement (through photos, calls and visits) I remained motivated to use my time in prison to prepare for a healthier life outside. Some of my “cellies” didn’t have the same family support and their lack of motivation was a result. Without encouragement, nothing motivates them to change.

My Prison Story Led Me to Purpose

Do I regret my choices? Sure. However, looking back, I can honestly say I am grateful for my time in prison. It changed my life. Prison led me to even greater purpose. Without my prison experience, Joseph never would have had the idea for Pelipost. I wouldn’t be living the good, healthy, sober life I’m living now and for that I don’t regret a single day.

With that said, you might speculate that I just walked out of prison and lived happily ever after. That would be a lie. I got out in May and hit rock bottom by October. I was dealing with the consequences of my choices in real life and it hurt. My drinking returned, my marriage was unrepairable, and I was dependent on my parents to support me. The thing they don’t prepare you for with your release… is that you still COME OUT A FAILURE. Then again, thanks to the resources I received in prison… I knew I HAD TO MAKE A CHOICE and that rock-bottom moment was the most humbling, life-altering reminder that I was worth the fight! Seven years later… I’m living a life I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams. Your incarcerated loved one could be too, just encourage them to push through and do the WORK!

Don’t forget to send your incarcerated loved ones photos this holiday season! You can download the Pelipost app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

The Bigger Picture: Validation

Pelipost is more than an app devoted to printing pictures for your incarcerated loved ones. We believe in the importance of family reintegration far exceeds the physical product in hand. REMAINING CONNECTED is the BIGGER PICTURE. 

In this two-part blog series we sat down with our very own co-founder, Becky Calderon, to explore the significant importance PRINTED photos had while incarcerated. 

“You feel like a failure at the time, you know your story has more to offer. You have to constantly remind yourself that prison doesn’t define my worth.”

– Becky Calderon

LIVING FOR PRISON MAIL CALL

When you’re in prison, all you have is time. You almost forget that life exists. You block it all out. You see the fences, you see the walls. You cope as best you can. With that said, there was one thing that kept us all rooted in hope for the future. MAIL CALL. We would LIVE FOR MAIL CALL. This is how we remained connected and informed with the world outside of our cell. We were all in prison for different reasons but unified by this longing to know we were more than our worst mistakes.

Letters were cherished but to receive an envelope with photos was the ultimate prize. Even just feeling the outside ridges of the envelope and knowing there was photos inside brought so much emotion… It’s hard to describe in words. I guess you could say, there was an unspoken understanding in there. We all simply longed for VALIDATION. Printed photos allowed our stories outside to come to life. We shared them, we celebrated, we mourned, we anticipated them with great excitement. It reminded us we are more than our current situation. We once had lives, passions, families, relationships, hobbies, skills, interests, stories that defined us outside of the prison walls. We are missed and treasured by others awaiting our release. 

CELEBRATING IN PRISON 

I shared a cell with 8 women, lovingly referred to as ‘cellies’. We each had different stories and reasons for their incarceration. Since we were in a maximum security facility… some stories were harder than others. One was an older woman. Her daughter had just given birth to her first grandchild. She was elated with the news and would beg for pictures of the new baby she would meet in the years to come. The new mom was so busy readjusting and overwhelmed with this new life that it took her so long to finally find the time to send her mom photos. When that day came…. We CELEBRATED alongside our cellie with great pride! It was as if the child’s arrival had just happened all over again for the first time.

MOURNING IN PRISON 

There was also a younger woman who had about 7 years remaining on her sentence. Her mother would come often and visit with her in the beginning of her sentence. She was older and unfortunately suffered a heart-related issue and wasn’t able to travel easily after that. This cellie LIVED for her mother’s visits. Once the mother’s visits stopped you can imagine how heartbreaking it was to her spirit. She would plead with her siblings… ‘send me pictures of MOM… I just want to see her face and know she’s alright’. I remember thinking ‘send this girl photos of her mother, she may not be alive when she gets out of here’. I hurt so badly for her. As a mother, I was fighting cancer inside the prison walls and understood the fear of leaving my son in an immediate way. 

VALUE YOUR INCARCERATED LOVED ONES

If you want your incarcerated loved ones to fight the staggering statistics of recidivism… INCLUDE THEM IN THEIR STORIES. VALIDATE their worth (outside of their poor choices). There was a cellie who had three children and five years remaining on her sentence. The problem was she kept getting into more and more trouble inside. I kept thinking ‘Don’t you even want to get out for your children?’ To be fair, she was never in her children’s lives to begin with… I used to pray that her family would include her in those kids lives and send her photos of them growing up. If only she communicated with them a little more often, I wonder if that wouldn’t have given her greater  purpose and hope for reconciling those relationships. 

PRINTED  PHOTOS GIVE HOPE

Sometimes customers assume we are disconnected from their stories and the struggles they face. I make sure to remind them of my own story and extend grace and understanding because incarceration is just so painful on so many levels. We care because WE KNOW HOW VITAL PHOTOS ARE in there! I want to bring that joy and validation because I felt that joy firsthand. When I finally got the picture of Joseph and that DAMN CAR (his first new car)… I was so happy! It plays such a huge part of our story. Little did we know at the time how incredible that printed photo would be to the future. Because of that photo, because of our separation, because of my worst mistakes… We now have this beautiful service impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of families with incarcerated loved ones across the United States. 

That being said, the impact is tangible and it feels so good. We have customers that have sent over 70 orders during these past three years. To read their notes… ‘Thank you so much for your service. He’s out. We’re not going to need you anymore.’ This is why we do what we do with such pride and dedication to our customers. We see how powerfully important our service is to the future reintegration process of their loved ones.

Don’t forget to send your incarcerated loved ones photos this holiday season! You can download the Pelipost app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Pelipost Gives Back Follow-Up

Pelipost Gives Back Winners

Following last week’s blog post, we have some exciting news! We asked for your favorite charity nominations and you delivered BIG!

Last week, we began our first giving initiative. As a result, we received over 60 charity nominations. In order to qualify, the charities nominated had to be actively involved in serving incarcerated persons and their families. We are excited to announce the 3 winning charities below! Pelipost will be making a $500 donation along with (25) Love Never Gives Up Bracelets to each of the winning charities listed below. Additionally, we will be donating a portion of sales from December 3 – Giving Tuesday.

Charity Winners

Prisoner’s Family ConferenceThe Prisoner’s Family Conference’s goal is to strengthen the entire prison family and promote successful reentry and reunification, reducing the rate of recidivism by providing critical connections, information and resources for families and secular and faith based organizations serving prisoners and their families.

“I have attended the past 4 Conferences. This Conference represents one of the rare opportunities for many of us to experience love and support even with a criminal past. We learn here that each of us has worth and the capacity to build a better life. We can become contributors to our community through sharing our stories and living a life we can each be proud of. In addition, our Conference highlights problems in our criminal justice system and in reentry which our Conferences speaks out and pushes for change and acceptance.”

Strong Prison Wives and Families – Strong Prison Wives & Families seek to enhance the lives of inmate supporters. They offer a variety of programs designed to provide empowerment, education & support; qualities essential to breaking the cycle of recidivism.

“This group has helped me feel loved and supported from day one being with a man who is incarcerated. They offer help understanding the system, how to handle losing a loved one to the system, and how to self care. This group has been a shoulder to cry on and a group to share laughs all the way to fighting the stigma of loving someone inside.”

Arouet Foundation Arouet has helped women tap into their own strengths, identify viable career paths, and establish stable, self-sufficient lives outside of prison. They’ve been serving incarcerated women for over 7 years with pre and post release programs. Most importantly, Arouet offers educational and employment supports, mentoring, wellness and behavioral health, life skills development, and advocacy.

“It was the most amazing opportunity and experience I’ve ever had in my life and I did all of that behind bars. I got out with over $10,000 to start my life over with. This Foundation gives these women hope.”

With that said, we are so grateful for your support and participation. You’ve made our first Giving Tuesday campaign a success! More information about ways to connect and get involved with the charities will be provided in the near future.

Finally, don’t forget to send your incarcerated loved ones photos this holiday season! You can download the Pelipost app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.