Voices of Hope – Leigh Anne P.

I had 3 months left on my parole when I was arrested for a minor violation. I was sent back to prison to serve out the remainder of my parole term, and I was released in the middle of a pandemic with only a bus ticket. I went back to the same pre-prison lifestyle – using drugs and prostituting in Little Rock, Arkansas. I knew I had to get out and I tried. I bought a car and escaped to Memphis, but my first night there, my car was stolen, and I lost everything I owned. I ended up right back where I was in Arkansas. A few weeks later, I was given an extra $200 one night, so I went straight to the Greyhound station and bought a ticket to Jacksonville. I didn’t know anyone there – I just came on faith. My favorite song is “Meant to Be” by Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line, and since Jacksonville is the biggest city at the Florida/Georgia line, I just knew “it was meant to be.”

Once I arrived in town, some stranger gave me a dollar to get to the City Rescue Mission, and that’s where I met Dale at the New Dawn Outreach. He gave me the number to Awakenings House and told me all about Operation New Hope’s Ready4Work program. And it has been blessing upon blessing since then! I now have a safe place to live at Awakenings House where I receive a lot of support. Operation New Hope has helped with rent and my job coach gave me a lot of great job leads. I put in an application at Goodwill Industries of North Florida, got offered the job over the phone, and I’ve been with them ever since. It’s hard work, but I love it.

The growth I’ve seen in myself during the past month is amazing! I am continuing to work on my recovery. I’m now on step 7, which is a big deal because I’ve never made it past 4. I’ve saved up $400 so far to buy a car, something I wouldn’t have even been able to consider if Operation New Hope wasn’t helping with my rent at Awakenings House. I am full of hope now. I see everything getting better as long as I keep doing what I’m supposed to do. ‘If it’s meant to be, it’ll be, it’ll be. Baby, just let it be.’

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