In the mid-1990s, Reverend Sylvia Bullock was raising two kids on her own near Washington, D.C. while working and going to college full-time.

Her teenage son, Marcus, saw how hard his mother was working — and how little they had — and decided to take matters into his own hands. He and a friend committed a carjacking, and although he was 15 years old, Marcus was tried as an adult. He served eight years for the crime.


Marcus was released in 2004. Since then he has created an app, called Flikshop, that makes it easier for inmates and their families to stay in touch. His mom works for his tech company as Fulfillment Manager and Mom-In-Chief. She received her Doctor of Ministry in 2008.

Originally aired August 11, 2017, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Top photo: Marcus and Sylvia in 2017.
Bottom photo: A Polaroid from one of Sylvia’s visits to Marcus while he was in prison. Courtesy of Sylvia Bullock.