What are the top challenges that you faced when reentering? My challenges when reentering were finding meaningful and stable employment, locating a support group for formerly incarcerated individuals, and facing my fear of the unknown.
What resources have you found most helpful for reentering? Word of mouth has been my best resource. I’ve discovered it’s easier to land a good paying job if you know someone that will speak on your behalf. I obtained several degrees while incarcerated to ensure that I would be employable.
Did you have a mentor or a role model? My sister Cheryl is my mentor and role model. No matter what comes her way, she continues to press forward. She strives to be a good steward by helping others in some capacity. Each time I’ve lost a job due to my background, she would encourage me with thoughtful words.
What drives your passion and makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning? Knowing that God is always with me helps me to get up and face each new day. I know there will be trials on some days but my faith carries me through. I’m grateful to be able to wake up to a new day and make my own decisions.
Why do you participate in the Reentry Advocacy Project? I participate in RAP because we have a common goal to make a difference for those returning to society. I am among like minded individuals that are inspiring, ambitious, and nonjudgmental. We understand all too well the challenges we face daily and are here for support. Everyone has a voice which can be heard at RAP.
What words of wisdom do you have for others leaving incarceration? Words of wisdom? Take time to find out who you are and set obtainable goals. Don’t feel pressured to conquer every task in one day. When doors close because of your background don’t give up. Keep pushing forward until the right door opens to an array of opportunities. Stay in your process. It will come to pass at the right time.
What accomplishments are you most proud of? I’m most proud of receiving my double Masters in Professional and Substance Abuse Counseling and also being granted my 501c 3 status to open a Transitional Home for women in Travis County.
What do you identify as having made a difference for you in your success? Remaining humble attributed to my success. Each time I lost a job because of my criminal history I didn’t give up on myself. I would pray more, ask God for strength, and move forward. I can’t dwell on the bump in the road.