Miss America 2012 Receives First Overcomer Award from Same Prison Ministry That Helped Her Family

6/27: Laura Kaeppeler Awarded First-Ever Angel Tree Star of Victory Award for Overcoming Stigma of Having Incarcerated Parent

Laura Kaeppeler has overcome some difficult obstacles on the way to becoming Miss America 2012—including the challenges of being the child of a prison inmate. Next week in Fort Lauderdale, Prison Fellowship, the nation's largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families—including Kaeppeler's family while her father was incarcerated—will present its inaugural Angel Tree Star of Victory award to Kaeppeler in recognition of her achievements.

The award, to be given annually, honors the child of a prisoner or ex-prisoner whose achievements give hope and encouragement to other children of prisoners. Kaeppeler has long advocated for mentoring children with an incarcerated parent and has made the issue part of her platform during her year as Miss America 2012.

"Since its founding in 1982, Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree program has become the largest national outreach to prisoners' children, the forgotten victims of crime," said Miss America 2003 Erika Harold, member of the Prison Fellowship board of directors, who will present the Angel Tree Star of Victory award to Kaeppeler. "We are privileged to present Laura Kaeppeler, the child of a formerly incarcerated parent, with the first Angel Tree Star of Victory award in recognition of her achievements despite the challenges of having an incarcerated parent. She is an inspiration to the 1.7 million children with a parent in prison in America today and the 10 million young people in the U.S. who have had a mother or father - or both - spend time behind prison walls."

Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree program is the only nationwide, year-round effort that reaches out exclusively to children who have a parent in prison. The year-round effort includes Christmas gifts provided on behalf of the incarcerated parent, summer camping and mentoring. Since a mentoring component was established in 2004, more than 5,000 children have been mentored through Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree program.

"Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree program helps the children of incarcerated parents know that they are not forgotten and provides them an encouraging mentor to help them be all God wants them to be," said Kaeppeler. "These kids desperately need to know their circumstances don't define them, and Angel Tree did that for my younger sisters while our father was incarcerated."

Kaeppeler is sure to be an inspiration of hope to the 150 children attending Prison Fellowship’s Champion Sports Camp. The annual camp for prisoners' children and other at-risk youth will provide the backdrop for this year's awards presentation in Pompano Beach.

Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree Star of Victory Award Presentation to Miss America 2012
Wed, June 27, noon – 1:15 p.m.
Highlands Christian Academy
501 NE 48th Street, Pompano Beach, FL 33064

Media Opportunities:

  • Advance phone interviews with Laura Kaeppeler, with on-site interviews June 27 with Miss America 2012 available only from 11:30 a.m. to noon

  • Advance and on-site interviews with current and other former prisoners' children who have been mentored through Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree program

  • Advance and on-site interviews with Miss America 2003 Erika Harold, a Prison Fellowship board member who works closely with children of prisoners, understands their challenges and can relate to their insecurities as she was a victim of racial bullying and sexual harassment as a youth

  • Follow @MissAmerica Laura Kaeppeler's interaction with Angel Tree through social media as she answers questions about her platform, personal relationship with Angel Tree and visit to Fort Lauderdale on the Angel Tree Facebook page and Prison Fellowship Twitter account (@prisonfellowshp)