Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler was in Pompano Beach, Florida, June 27 visiting with children from the Champions Sports Camp, organized by Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree ministry, an outreach to incarcerated parents and their children. Erika Harold, Miss America 2003 is a board member of Prison Fellowship and emceed the event. Laura was honored to receive the organization's first-ever Star of Victory Award, for children who have had an incarcerated parent.
"I'm a firm believer that everything in life happens for a reason," Laura told the kids. "If you work hard, believe in yourself, dream big, I stand before you to say it really can come true."
The camp is one form of outreach by Angel Tree to children of inmates, including eight thousand in South Florida. It also provides volunteer mentoring and annual Christmas gifts, given on behalf of the incarcerated parent, usually donated through churches.
After her speech, Laura stayed to chat and pose for photos with the kids. She confessed, "I have to put myself on the line every day. I have to make the message hit home, that we're the same. And if my past didn't define me, it doesn't have to define them."