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“I was on drugs since I was 13 years old – everything from marijuana to coke to crack – you name it. I was able to stay clean for 5 years, and during that time, I got pregnant with my daughter. But then meth came to Jacksonville and I fell into a major downward spiral. I was trying to hide my addiction while trying to be a mom. But of course, it didn’t work. I lost my job. DCF and the cops got involved, and I voluntarily sent my daughter to live with my sister when she was 8. I remember her telling me, ‘Momma, it’s going to be ok.’
I was living in a van with my boyfriend, waiting to get into Gateway’s rehab when I learned about Operation New Hope. Since then, it’s been an amazing journey. From the start, everyone has been there, helping guide me. They provided me with 3 months of sober living housing to get back on my feet, and the bus passes were crucial and made a huge difference. My case manager helped me with all my struggles. She lifted me up, gave me a pat on the back, and told me that everything would work out. I hadn’t worked a real job in years, but the Ready4Work team reacquainted me to the workforce. They helped with everything from mock interviews to resume building, and even basic terminology. The warehouse and forklift training was great. It set me up for success and made me more comfortable. The instructors were down to earth and real. It’s all the little things that they did that helped me overcome my embarrassment.
It was all so helpful in landing my job at Parliment Building Products where I’ve now been for 6 months. My job has been my lifeline, and I love working here. I now have a car, a nice trailer to live in, and my daughter is moving back in with me this weekend. I am so excited to have her back! She’s so resilient and smart. She’s going to be in gifted classes at her school.
When I was on meth, I remember thinking, I don’t know how to get out of this pit. I didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. But there was. The light was Operation New Hope. It saved my family. After I completed the program, my daughter’s father followed me and also went through Ready4Work. My daughter now has both of her parents back and it means everything in the world. We are all so happy now and just like my daughter said, everything is going to be ok. I am so thankful.”
With the skills learned and confidence gained from our Ready4Release and Ready4Workprograms, our participants go on to become productive community members and build successful careers earning living wages. To read more stories of transformation, success and hope, visit – https://operationnewhope.org/our-stories/voices-of-hope/.