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Digital book program allows children to hear from parents in jail
Reading to a child is one of the best ways to connect with them.
It's also one of the top activities children of jailed parents say they miss when their parents are behind bars.
As Channel Three's Kathryn Daniel shows us, a local business woman is working to bring the two together, using love and technology.
Inmate Crystal Johnson is nervous, and not used to the lights and cameras, but she pushes through her jitters.
"My kids think I'm in jail cause I've been bad, but to see me do this, it's good for them."
Crystal's oldest son is working on his letters.
"The last time in visitation, he sang me his abcs."
Drexel Gilbert began her digital reading business, I love it when you Read to me, as a way for grandparents, or deployed parents to stay in touch.
This spring, she brought the program here.
"Seeing how they come alive when they are reading to their children, I get goosebumps, sometimes I cry."
Gilbert wrote the books used, parents sign a copy, it's sent, along with the DVD of the session to their children.
One little boy broke down into happy tears when his arrived.
"People had been telling him that his mother was okay. But until he saw her, he didn't know she was okay."
Inmate, Maurice Martin, is the first male to take part.
"Ran to the door and signed up for it."
Martin says he just missed a major milestone.
"Just started kindergarten. He's probably learning how to read and knows how to write his name."
Martin is happy knowing his kids will hear his voice.
"My son, he's gonna have the remote in his hand, replaying, rewinding probably gonna watch it all day. Gonna drive his mama crazy."
Inmate, Scarlett Aguilar, says she's grateful that Gilbert takes the time to treat her like a mom.
"For her thinking and actually going through all the red tape, I'm sure it wasn't an easy task, means something."
Aguilar asks Gilbert to make an extra copy for her two little ones in Texas. Her older children live nearby, but don't visit.
"Doesn't mean they need to see me here. They know where I'm at. Mommy, I thought you said you were never going back. And that hurts."
There's healing here too...
"Way of keeping the parents and the children connected in a way that transcends those prison bars."
"I'm gonna cry. I love 'em, I miss 'em and I'll be home soon."