Meet Joe & Becky Calderon: Co-founders of Pelipost, The Photos-to-Prison App®
Pelipost is more than just an app to send photos to incarcerated loved ones. We understand firsthand the impact of incarceration on families, from inside and outside of prison. Today, we want to introduce you to our story and how it inspired a movement toward a more connected, empathetic perspective toward those going through a period of incarceration.
Two Halves that make
Joe Calderon is Becky Calderon’s son. When Joe was a freshman in college, Becky was sentenced to three years in prison. The years that followed transformed a family, and a business was born.
When Joe was just one month old, Becky was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She spent the next 12 years fighting for her life while balancing motherhood, marriage, and a job. During Joe’s middle school years — a feat in its own right considering doctors told her she wouldn’t live to see Joe’s kindergarten graduation — the cancer returned.
During this time, Becky made some financial choices that would catch up with her later in life. She intended to offer a higher-quality, memorable life for her family during her “last years” with them.
Fast forward time, and Becky was in serious trouble — financially, legally, physically, and mentally. As she would learn during her time in prison, trauma was at the root of many of her struggles. It took three long years for Becky to face her sentencing, putting off court dates and delaying the inevitable. In all honesty, she believed she would die before she’d go to jail. Little did the Calderon family know that Becky’s three years of incarceration would save her life and inspire a successful business opportunity with her only child.
There are always two sides to a story, especially regarding the impact of incarceration on families. Joe was just a child when his mother was fighting cancer. He was a young adult as she struggled with alcoholism and legal troubles. Joe was a freshman in college when Becky went to prison. She would miss major milestones like his college graduation.
During her incarceration, Joe did all he could to keep her spirits up and stay connected. He was devastated when he learned her cancer had returned, and he couldn’t be by her side.
To make matters more challenging, Becky was transferred to a state prison that was 8 hours away from where Joe went to school. He was allowed to send letters, chat on the phone for 20 minutes bi-weekly, and visit on Sundays during visitation hours. Because of the distance and Joe’s busy life as a working college student, he struggled to find time to send her photographs — an item Becky requested and cherished.
During his college years, Joe explored entrepreneurship involving business startup ideas. It wasn’t until after his mother was released from prison that they decided to take the leap and launch Pelipost, The Photos-to-Prison App®.
Staying connected during incarceration
One of the biggest lessons learned through this experience is that finding ways to feel connected to those incarcerated and finding ways for incarcerated loved one’s to feel connected to life outside prison walls is paramount.
In 2015, Pelipost was born
In the early stages, Joe focused on the technical side of the business as founder and CEO. Becky implemented her 20+ years of managerial experience and awareness of life in prison to help with back-end production and order fulfillment. Now Becky is the Chief Operating Officer and is responsible for overseeing the fulfillment staff and printing operations.
With care and dedication, Pelipost has shipped over 10 million photos, served 4,000+ facilities, and connected with 500,000 users and counting through the Pelipost app.
Our story created our purpose. Our purpose is to support incarcerated families during this challenging time and celebrate with them as they make it to the other side.