John Legend is working with TV bosses behind educational show Sesame Street to help incarcerated parents stay in touch with their kids over the holidays.
The All of Me hitmaker launched the FREEAMERICA campaign in 2015 and he has now put together a program with Sesame Street to help kids "communicate with their parents who are away."
"We incarcerate so many people, and a lot of times we forget about their kids that are left behind and how it feels for them to be without parents," he tells People magazine. "The emotional effect that it has on them, the financial effect it has on their families as well – I think a lot of times we forget about that toll of incarcerating so many people. (We're) trying to bridge that gap so there's stronger communication between the kids and their parents."
Last month, Legend invited five children to come to the set of the show and talk to characters about their jailed parents. John also met with the students to speak to them, and the videos will be sent to the incarcerated parents.
Legend has been passionate about criminal justice reform and incarceration rates in the U.S., but he has become more concerned with the issues after becoming a father.
"I think it's just even more emotionally resonating now that I have a daughter, in thinking about what the impact of just me going on tour has on her, and how she misses me when I'm gone for a few weeks," he says. "For kids that would have to deal with that for multiple years and not be able to contact their parents in the way that we can – you just can't imagine how hard it is."