Ludacris, the Dirty South rapper from Atlanta with three Grammy awards, has donated $10,000 to a grassroots project trying to help incarcerated people connect with their families.
Jay’Aina Patton and her father Antoine are developing the app Photo Patch, which is a photo app specifically meant for children to send pictures to their family in corrective custody. According to Photo Patch’s website, fewer than 20 percent of inmate parents in state custody reporting seeing their children at least once a month, and more than half of all parent inmates report never having been visited by their children at all. The site cites peer-reviewed studies showing that, unless the parent is in custody for domestic violence, supporting the ongoing parent-child relationship is important for both parties, improving mental health results and decreasing the likelihood of future criminal activity.
“Writing letters and sending photos is the last method of communication between children and their incarcerated parents. Unfortunately, U.S. postage mail is censored, time-consuming, and foreign to children. We endeavor to make this process easier. As many as 48.3% of state parent inmates and 36.5% of federal parent inmates report receiving letters from their children less than once a month, with 30% of state parent inmates and 16% report never having received any mail from their children,” says the website.
Ludacris met the father-daughter duo on Ellen DeGeneres’s show, where they were being featured for their work which has so far connected over 70,000 families.
“You guys are connecting the world…you are the future, 100 percent,” he told them before handing over an oversized $10k check.
Jay’Aina hopes that her work will not only help the people who use her app but will also inspire black girls to go into tech, a field that remains heavily white and male.
“There’s not much representation of people who look like me in the world of tech, and I know other little girls want to get into this world, but they don’t see that they can do it,” she said. “I want to be that guide and help them do it.”