Voices of Hope – Katie M.

I served 3 1/2 years at Gadsden Correctional for grand theft. The day I got sentenced I cried so hard because my daughter was almost 4 at the time. I was so sad to leave her because her father didn’t even know her allergies and had never even given her a bath before.”

“As I was preparing for my release, I was so worried that people were going to judge me. I kept thinking people were only going to see a former felon when they looked at me. I had no idea what I was going to do when I got out. But I heard about the Ready4Release program from others at Gadsden, so I wrote to Operation New Hope to find out more. A few weeks later, I met with Corvus, the Ready4Relase Case Manager, during a call out, and he explained all the benefits of the Ready4Work program, and I enrolled. I got out on a Thursday, was set up with a transitional house, and started the Ready4Work program the following Monday.”

“Ready4Work was great. While I knew the basic job skills from my years of work as an Assistant to the Executive Director of a medical practice, I still learned a lot from the program. The mock interviews were especially helpful. I was used to interviewing, not to being the one interviewed. My job coach Mark told me I was a natural at it, and that really helped me build back the confidence I had lost while in prison. Operation New Hope is a great organization because the people who work there don’t judge people by the cover. They help clients know that you can be anything you want to be if you are willing to work hard.”

“I took what I gained from the Ready4Work program and landed two jobs in one week. Since the beginning of January, I’ve been working at Pink Salt and Beaches Recovery, and I love both places. They treat me like family and I’ve been given opportunities to grow at both jobs.”

“I feel like I have done so much in the 82 days since I left prison. I’ve learned that I’m a fighter and that if I want something, I’m gonna get it! I’m currently working on regaining custody of my daughter, doing business development for the restaurant, and working towards opening an outpatient counseling practice that works in partnership with Beaches Recovery to support clients leaving recovery. I want to be the best that I can be to show people that it doesn’t just end with prison. There is always something you can do to change your life and help someone else in the process. The past is the past. There is a future. There is hope.”

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