The Foundation chose Kaeppeler for the exemplary work she does in mentoring children of incarcerated parents. Kaeppeler has personal experience with the topic as her father served 18 months in federal prison for mail fraud.
“There are many of you out there — and I was one of them — but it doesn’t have to define you,” she told the Associated Press after winning the Miss America crown.
Mary Ann Uzzi, chairperson of the Foundation, shared that the selection of Miss America came about in an interesting way. “Miss Kaeppeler was a student at St. Joseph’s High School in Kenosha, Wisconsin where our son-in-law worked as a choreographer. They forged a special bond because, he, too, was a child of an incarcerated parent.”
Uzzi noted that the statistics of children with incarcerated parents are astounding. For example, according to a recent report by the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 52 percent of State inmates and 63 percent of Federal inmates reported having an estimated 1,706,600 minor children, accounting for 2.3 percent of the U.S. resident population under age 18. “The impact on the children’s lives can be devastating. Fortunately, Miss Kaeppeler and my son-in-law found the strength and guidance they needed to move their lives forward onto a positive path.”
The Courage Awards, now in its 14th year, honor and celebrate individuals, groups, and corporations who work tirelessly on behalf of others facing the daily and life-long challenges of mental illness and substance abuse. Other honorees at the event include Bergen County Freeholder David L. Ganz, and HOMECorp of Montclair.
The event includes a silent auction, tricky tray, 50/50 and a jewelry raffle. Miss Kaeppeler will be modeling three exquisite pieces of Kwiat diamond jewelry donated for the event by Devon Fine Jewelry of Wyckoff.
The Foundation is currently welcoming sponsors and dinner guests. For more information call 201-986-5070.
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