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A heroin and meth addict since I was 12 years old, I was in and out of rehab and jail for years. I felt defeated and had accepted that I was going to be a lifelong addict. It wasn’t until I was arrested for a probation violation and facing 18 months of prison time that it hit me – I needed to make a change in my life. Standing at the side of the road next to the cop car, I told myself that I was going to make prison the best thing that ever happened to me.
And I did – I got clean and stayed clean and took advantage of every opportunity offered while serving time. That’s how I learned about Operation New Hope. Their Ready4Release team came to the prison and told us about this great program that would help us with housing and bus passes and get us prepared for a good job. I really felt like I was going out on a limb by enrolling because I didn’t know anyone in Jacksonville and it all seemed too good to be true. But it wasn’t. They delivered all that they promised and more.
Everything has fallen into place. I landed this great job at Parliment Building Products with insurance and a 401k match. I’ve worked hard, taken on a lot of responsibility, and earned two raises in 11 months, and I’m on track for another promotion. I want to learn everything and continue to advance with the company. Mr. Parliment respects all of us and we all respect him. It’s like a family here and I feel like I really belong.
My life is completely different now. I didn’t think it was possible – but if it’s possible for me, it can be possible for anyone. You just have to really want it. And it helps having the support of Operation New Hope so that you can make the most of your second chance.