Pelipost’s Origin

Pelipost is more than just an app for sending photos to your incarcerated loved ones.  Pelipost’s Origin is a story, much like your own. We are so excited to share our story with you in our new PeliPeople series! (Start from the beginning and read Becky’s Story Inside Incarceration here).

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“We are two halves that make up the whole called Pelipost.”

-Joe Calderon

Creating a Solution Together

Growing up, I was in love with entrepreneurship and creative problem solving. I spent much of my college years exploring business start-up ideas in greater depth. Once my mom was released from prison, sober, and her cancer in remission, she could not wait to take on the world. We decided to take the leap of faith and launched Pelipost together.

In those early stages, I focused on the technical side of the business, as the Founder and CEO. My mom took care of fulfilling photo orders and back-end production tasks. Her 20+ years of managerial experience and awareness of life on the inside would become one of Pelipost’s greatest assets. My mom is now our Chief Operating Officer. She is responsible for overseeing our fulfillment staff, printing operations, and leads with utmost dedication.

Reintegration Success Story

Pelipost’s Origin story is not one-sided. We are two halves that make up the whole called Pelipost. Our collective perspectives, both locked up on the inside and living life on the outside, are used daily for a greater purpose (finding value in staying connected through every season of life). Pelipost believes in the BIGGER PICTURE… remaining connected with your incarcerated loved ones and believing in their story, just as much as you believe in ours.

Pelipost's Origin - Joe & Becky Calderon
Joe & Becky in front of Pelipost Headquarters

“I truly believe that what makes us successful is that you HAVE to have experienced the need, the joy, the overall meaning of what you are doing by providing this service. I know that what makes us successful is that our heart is in it because the single most important thing I learned is that although we are incarcerated, we are still alive and want to feel included in people’s lives on the outside. And I truly believe that it is by letters and photos. So when we provide this service, I know the joy they are feeling inside. I also know the struggle they are feeling outside trying to find time to send photos and not feel bad because they did not find the time. I know because I was there and I keep that in mind always.”

– Becky Calderon

Want to read more of the our PeliPeople Series? Sign-up for the Pelipost email newsletter! You will first to be to notified once we release the next part of our story!

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.

Joe’s Story Outside Incarceration (Pt. 2)

Pelipost is more than just an app for sending photos to your incarcerated loved ones. Pelipost has a story, much like your own. We are so excited to share our story with you in our new PeliPeople series! This is part one of Joe’s Story Outside Incarceration. (Read about Becky’s Story Inside Incarceration here).

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“I did my best to keep her spirits up.”

-Joe Calderon

My New Reality

Shortly after my mom’s sentencing, she was transferred from the county jail to a state prison. I realized this was my new reality. A reality that many people often only see on TV shows or documentaries. The instant communication that I had enjoyed all my life with mom, was taken away. Our chats were reduced to letters and bi-weekly 20 minute phone calls. I cherished those brief phone calls. I would highlight what was happening on the outside, and learn what was happening with her on the inside. I did my best to keep her spirits up.

Visitation was the hardest challenge. When a loved one is incarcerated, no one gets a say on which facility they go to. The corrections system doesn’t care that you want your loved one to be close for visitation. It doesn’t care where your nearest family member lives. That’s exactly what happened to my mom.

My mom ended up in Chowchilla, CA, which was an 8 hour drive in the middle of nowhere. There were no major airports in the area so flying was out of the question. My only option was to drive. Visitation hours started at 9am on Sundays. In order to maximize my visitation time, I had to leave my house in San Diego, CA at 1 AM. It was hard. It was long. But I knew I had to do it. I made this drive as often as I could. I knew WITHOUT A DOUBT in my heart, my mom would have done the same for me.

Her Condition Revealed

I didn’t know my mom’s cancer had returned while she was in prison. I found out during one of our Sunday morning visits. I had my suspicions when my mom tried to persuade me not to visit her. I knew that she was only trying to protect me and keep me focused on my studies. I remember seeing my mom walk out into the visitation room, looking so frail and thin from the radiation treatment she had recently undergone. I tried my hardest to hold back my tears. Despite the physical toll the treatment took on my mom, she still had a smile on her face when she saw me.

Joe and Becky during Visitation. Joe's Story Outside Incarceration
Joe and Becky during Visitation. Joe’s Story Outside Incarceration

It was after the visit, and after seeing my mom in that frail state, that I came to face the strong possibility that my mom could die in prison. During her treatment, I felt helpless. It drove me crazy that I had no control over when I could see her, or even be there for her procedures. Knowing that she was being transported to her doctor in a prison van instead of taking her myself, was difficult to swallow. Even though I couldn’t be there physically, I never stopped supporting my mom and always kept a positive attitude when I spoke to her on the phone.

Thankfully, she beat the cancer, and was scheduled for release six months later. It was during this time that we would discover the need for a photo sharing service to stay connected with incarcerated loved ones…

Discovering a Need

During the last six months of my mom’s sentence, I graduated from college, landed a great job and bought myself my first car (Chrysler 300) as a graduation present.  During our brief phone calls, I would tell my mom about all these things going on in my life. She would always say, “Son, send me pictures of your car!” I would always respond, “I will, mom.” However, between my new job, caring for my grandparents, and life demands, I’d keep forgetting to run to the store to print and mail them out. 

One day, I remember thinking to myself ‘I have thousands of pictures on my phone. I wish there was a service that could print and send my photos for me. It would be so much easier to stay connected with my mom.’ The idea stuck with me and upon my mom’s release, we got down to business and launched a mobile app called Pelipost…

Beck and Joe. Joe's Story Outside Incarceration
Becky and Joe. Joe’s Story Outside Incarceration

There’s more to our story! Sign-up for the Pelipost email newsletter below to be notified once we release the next part of our story!

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.

Joe’s Story Outside Incarceration (Pt. 1)

Pelipost is more than just an app for sending photos to your incarcerated loved ones.  Pelipost has a story, much like your own. We are so excited to share our story with you in our new PeliPeople series! This is part one of Joe’s Story Outside Incarceration. (Read about Becky’s Story Inside Incarceration here)

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“I didn’t know what the hell to do.  It wasn’t just my mom who’d be doing time, but me as well.  We were officially in the system together. ”

-Joe Calderon

Growing up in San Diego in the 1980’s the Calderon family lived the picturesque American Dream.  Happy marriage, good careers, new cars, and a beautiful home. In January of 1989, they joyfully welcomed their first child, Joseph into their lives.  Sadly, the joys of parenthood became shattered a month after Joseph was born, Becky received a terminal cancer diagnosis. Doctors told her she would be lucky to live to see me turn 5. 

Childhood Before Incarceration

Toddler Joe. Joe's Story Outside Incarceration
Toddler Joe & his parents. Joe’s Story Outside Incarceration

As my mom fought her way through surgeries, chemo, and intense radiation, she decided to devote what time she had remaining to provide me with the best childhood she could offer. It was full of fun, birthday parties, family vacations, playing sports, and lots of love.

Sadly, as the years passed, life’s struggles took a toll on my family. This included financial hardships, losing our home during the Great Recession, and the collapse of my parents’ 21-year marriage. On top of that, my mom’s legal troubles lead her to a battle with alcoholism as she tried to drink her circumstances away. 

Mom Sentenced to Prison

In October 2010, our family endured the ultimate hardship. My mom (Becky) arrived to a San Diego courthouse for what she believed would be a sentencing of house arrest only to find out she wouldn’t be returning home. Her lawyer promised she would receive a lenient sentencing because she had never been in trouble before and she committed a “white-collared crime”.  To our shock and surprise, the Judge sentenced her to 3 years in prison and ordered her immediately incarcerated. On the outside, I was in complete disbelief that my mom was really going to prison.

I was away at college and had little knowledge of the legal system. I wasn’t expecting my mom to end up in prison, especially before I could say goodbye, give her a big hug, and tell her it was going to be okay.

Families End Up In The Prison System Together

Joe and Becky during Visitation. Joe's Story Outside Incarceration
Joe and Becky during Visitation. Joe’s Story Outside Incarceration

My world instantly changed and I felt an ENORMOUS amount of pressure and stress.  I didn’t know what the hell to do. It wasn’t just my mom who’d be doing time, but me as well.  We were officially in the system together. I literally woke up one day with everything being “normal”and going to bed with my world completely in chaos. 

Shortly after going into custody, they relocated my mom to California’s Central Women’s Facility in Chowchilla CA (8 hours away). Her cancer had returned while incarcerated and she required a facility with a full medical ward to continue her treatment. This was the beginning of one of the hardest challenges my mom and I would ever endure…

Want to read more about Joseph’s Story Outside Incarceration? Sign-up for the Pelipost email newsletter! You will first to be to notified once we release the next part of our story soon!

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.