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“I’m from Jacksonville, grew up on the Eastside, and had a wonderful life. I was raised right, but went down the wrong path. I was introduced to alcohol at 8 and started using drugs at 11. After being gang raped at 12 years old, I ran away from home, got sex trafficked, and was doing and selling drugs. I was in and out of jail and eventually just got tired of it all. I wanted to change. After a life-altering car accident in January 2021 that threw me from the car and broke 11 bones in my body, I knew it was time to turn my life around.
“The staff at Operation New Hope has been great and has showed a lot of love. My mental health counselor is so supportive and calls me every week to check on me. The career development instructors taught me a lot of things I didn’t know before. The job coaches helped me build up my resume, and it’s way better than I ever could have done on my own. My case worker helped me get into school and connected me with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, where I’m now serving as a Block Leader.
“I’m no longer a product of what happened to me. I went to Gateway for 17 months for duel diagnosis of mental and substance abuse and alcoholism. I’m proud to report that I’ve been sober for almost 2 years. I am from out East, but I grew up at Gateway. I have a beautiful relationship with God and my family now. I’m more calm and peaceful and have faith in myself again. My husband and I oversee our church outreach committee and share clothes and hygiene products with the community. I speak at River Region and serve as the co-chair on the Peer Advisory Committee at Gateway. I’m also leading AA meetings and serving as a sponsor. I used to go to jail 2-3 times a year, but now I’m going to jail to volunteer and motivate people. I am giving back what was freely given to me and serving as a leader in all the spaces where I used to be in bondage.
“I am happy, walking with my head held high. I am a product of healing, deliverance, 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!