Meet Our Founder

Growing and Coping Together

Kanaka’s Story

After experiencing first-hand what life was like having an incarcerated parent and several other imprisoned loved ones growing up, Kanaka was inspired to start Growing and Coping Together to empower and provide support to younger generations going through the same experiences. She coined the term “Jewels” and refers to any child or adolescent who is growing up with a parent or loved one in prison.

Kanaka became a “Jewel” before she was even born. Her father was in and out of jail her entire life. At the age of 16, Kanaka became pregnant. Her two Jewels have experienced the same heartbreak of having their father incarcerated. With perseverance and determination, Kanaka finished college and became a Licensed Certified Social Worker. With Growing and Coping Together, Kanaka’s goal is to provide mentorship, restore parent/child relationships involved in the justice system, and help break the cycle of generational incarceration.