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“I’m originally from Bradenton, Florida and started using drugs because it was the only escape route I knew. If I couldn’t get it, I’d find a way to take it. The day I went to jail, I lost everything. I hurt the person I cared about the most and that hurt me. It broke my heart to see her cry the day I was arrested, and I promised her that I was done. I sat in the county jail for 7-8 months before I went to prison where I served 5 years. After a few months in prison I was transferred to Lawtey CI which was a faith and character based camp. It was there that I met Mr. Cage, who really caught my attention when he told me about everything Operation New Hope had to offer. I made a decision that day to leave it all behind and signed up for the Ready4Work program.
“I got released on February 7, 2023, and it was most definitely one of the best days of my life. As soon as I walked through the door at Operation New Hope, I could tell that everyone I came in contact with actually cared about me and other people like me. You could feel the love and care that everyone was emanating. It really was contagious in a good way. They offered me assistance from the moment I walked through door and it really made an impact on my life. I dedicated myself to the Ready4Work program, working nights at Taco Bell, and staying awake for career development classes during the day. In the program, I learned about how to take responsibility, bite my tongue, and keep going.
“Working two jobs, I saved every penny, and at the end of the 3 months of transitional housing provided by Operation New Hope, I had $2,500 saved. I called 16 places, but no one would rent to me because of my background. However, I was fortunate enough to meet my current landlord, who believes in second chances, and I’ve been living in my own 2 bedroom apartment for the last 3-4 months. It’s amazing to make my own choices and know that I doing well.
“My goal now is to stay clean and continue to advance at Taco Bell. I was recently promoted Market Training Manager after only 6 months post-prison. If I can do it, anyone can. All it takes is determination and hope.”
At Operation New Hope, we believe that we are all better than our worst mistake, worst day, or worst decision. We believe in people’s ability to transform their lives through commitment and hard work. We see it every day as we support our clients’ reentry and growth. With the skills learned and confidence gained from our Ready4Release, Ready4Work and Ready4Success programs, our participants go on to become productive community members and build successful careers earning living wages. Read more stories of transformation, success and hope!