Voices of Hope – Chassidy P.

“Growing up in Tennessee, I had a good family and didn’t know struggle. But when I was a young teenager, my dad got locked up and my mom got diagnosed with breast cancer. It all started to go downhill from there. We moved to Florida so my mom could get help from family to raise her 5 children, and it was shortly after moving that we suffered another devastating blow – my oldest brother was killed and it took us a month to find his body.

“I was 15 years-old and in a really dark place, struggling with school and work and sports. We moved several more times over the next couple of years, and I started working at Amazon. Although I knew right from wrong, one of my coworkers and a friend encouraged me to start stealing. I wanted to help provide for my family, so I made a really bad decision. I ended up getting caught and taken out of work in handcuffs.

“It was my first time in jail, and I felt so low and so ashamed. I hated having to call my mom and tell her what I had done. When I realized I was now a felon, I felt like my life was over.

“But I was given the most amazing second chance when I was ordered to attend the Ready4Work program in addition to my probation and restitution obligations. The team at Operation New Hope connected me a job and helped me realize that I’m still young, and that this isn’t the end. I just completed the one year Ready4Work program, paid back my restitution, and finished my probation. I’m working a good job, have my own place, and exploring going to school for medical coding and billing or joining the merchant marines.

“I am thankful for the way Operation New Hope supported me and helped me realize my life wasn’t over. I had the chance to turn my life around – I just had to take it and make the right choices.”

With the skills learned and confidence gained from our programs, our participants go on to become productive community members and build successful careers earning living wages. 

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