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Drugs and doing stuff to get drugs sent me to prison. I started using when I was 13 and I went to prison 8 times. Every time I got out, it was the same thing. I’d spend 2 years in and then spend 6 months out. And when I got sentenced to 10 years the last time, I said ‘Lord, I don’t know what to do!‘ After serving about 2 years of that final sentence, I realized I was ready for change. I knew I didn’t want to get out of prison again and do the same old thing. I knew I wanted to do better so I changed my mind and attitude.
A few months before I was about to be released, I met these two down-to-earth guys from Operation New Hope’s Ready4Release program. They kept it real and told me about all the Ready4Work program benefits. I knew I didn’t have anywhere to go when I got out, so I enrolled in Ready4Work to get help with housing and finding a job. I let the program work for me and it did – it helped me so much! Ready4Work gave me a refuge for a month where I learned good things, was encouraged every day and was surrounded by positive people. They gave me the momentum I needed to succeed on the outside.
When I graduated, Operation New Hope helped me get a job at Miller Electric and I’ve been working there for 7 months now. In that time, I have earned 3 raises, was able to buy a car, and I’m now enrolled in the apprentice program making over $14 per hour. I plan to work hard and study even harder with the goal of making my way up to full electrician with the potential to make $30 per hour. I am also saving as much money as I can so I can buy a house. I am a little worried about all the math I have to learn, my brain isn’t as young as it used to be, but I know I can do it by staying positive and working through. If I could make it through prison, I know I can do anything.
The best years of my life are still ahead of me. I never did anything positive before, but now I’m grateful to God, trying to stay humble, and I’m helping as many people as I can. I couldn’t have done it without Operation New Hope – they were a true blessing!