Video conferencing connects kids with parents in prison

    A Salvation Army community center in West Philadelphia is now offering state-of-the art video conferencing equipment to neighborhood children.

    A Salvation Army community center in West Philadelphia is now offering state-of-the art video conferencing equipment to neighborhood children. A flat-screen monitor and video camera allows students to interact with instructors on the other side of the world. It will also allow some to talk to their own parents.

    On one side of the small room is old media – a theatrical stage. Opposite is new media – a video conferencing module.

    Hare: Hi, I’m Michal Hare from Johnson Space Center all the way down in Houston TX. How is everyone today. [Good!] Excellent.

    For a fee, the community center has access to a network of hundreds of science and cultural centers around the world with interactive video programs. But Salvation Army tutor Robert Black says the system can also be used to connect children with parents who are in prison.

    Black: Many kids in the black community have a parent that’s incarcerated. it’s a fact of life. We know parenting process is critical to development of a young person. So we like the idea that they’ll be able to re-establish relationships with those behind walls.

    Using video conferencing to talk to incarcerated relatives costs about $25 dollars. The Salvation Army is seeking outside funding to mitigate that charge.

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