by Lisa Riordan Seville and Zara Katz, The Guardian
When Kristal Bush’s mother nearly went broke from the expense of visiting her son in prison, Kristal saw an opportunity to connect Philadelphia families to loved ones locked up hours away – and Bridging the Gap was born
In the half light on a quiet street on the edge of west Philadelphia, Kristal Bush shut her front door and hustled down her stone steps. She crossed the street and climbed into the driver’s seat of her shiny, black 12-passenger Sprinter van. Juggling two phones, she turned the key. The engine chugged awake, and she started tapping out texts to her riders. A few minutes shy of 6am on a summer Sunday, Kristal was already late.
About six years ago, when Kristal was 22, she and her mother, Crystal Speaks, decided to try their hands at turning circumstance into opportunity. Crystal was going broke from the expense of the visits to see her son, Jarvae. He was serving a 10-year sentence in Huntingdon state prison, 200 miles from Philadelphia. Opportunity came in the form of thousands of Philadelphia families like theirs who have someone locked up far from home.
In the years Jarvae ...