Voices of Hope Update – Charlotte

Founded in March 1999, Operation New Hope is celebrating our 25th anniversary this year, commemorating our legacy of transformative impact on the people and communities we serve. To mark this momentous occasion, we reached out to some of our former clients to see how they are doing now. Years after returning home, they are still applying what they have learned during their time here at Operation New Hope to achieve success and build a brighter future. 

Here is Charlotte’s Voices of Hope Update:

Looking back, what was the hardest thing about the first year after you were released?
There were so many hard things! If I can sum it up in one word, it would be employment.”
What are you up to now? Where are you working and how are you doing?
God has been good to me, my life is filled with love from my family and church, respect from co-workers and joy of grandkids. For the past 5 years, I have been working as a customer service representative, at Allied Plastics and I love it! I have actually been employed there since graduating from Ready4Work program in 2005 – yes 19 years! I also volunteer in some prisons in the state, helping women like me, understand that they too can have a bright future.”
What have been the happiest moments since being released?
Having a loving relationship my children, seeing them married and have kids of their own. Being a good citizen, my rights restored, voting, that was big for me (happy tears). Being a witness and testimony to others.”
How did incarceration and reentry change you?
To be truthful, they both saved my life! First, prison was all I thought it would be, scary. My entire perspective on who I thought I was changed to the truth, not a good person. I did not like the person on the indictment. I wanted help, I needed help, I needed a second chance at life. I cried out to God, He saved me, and I started being a good citizen in prison, if I can say that, many are not. When I was released, I was given a ticking time bomb… Find a job or go back! I did not believe in reentry, I thought it was going to be another form of probation, all black and white, no real help. Until Operation New Hope showed me this was not the case. My life went from leaving the prison house to a round table for the White House.”
What do you wish someone had told you about reentry?
It is not another branch to the ‘system’. There are people who actually care about your welfare.”
What have you learned about yourself in the time since going through the Ready4Work program?
I was in the program in 2005, and I have learned much about me over the years. One thing that I can say it that I am an overcomer, and it is okay to accept help.”
Charlotte speaking to Govenor Desantis and Vice President Pence during White House Roundtable discussion at ONH in July 2019
Charlotte Meeting Ivanka Trump during the White House Roundtable discussion at ONH in July 2019
What are your dreams and aspirations?
To always be a witness of positive change.”
What keeps you motivated?
My faith.”
What achievements are you most proud of?
“19 years on a job.”
If you could change one thing about the criminal justice system, what would it be?
Once you complete your sentence, probation or rehabilitation you don’t have to wear a badge/label of your wrong doings.”
What does HOPE mean to you?
Having faith in God.”
How do you hope your story can inspire or support others?
When people hear my triumphs, they will believe in the power of second chances with ONH. Desire that same help. As for others who may not have been through my experience, that they see their support play a major role in our lives and we are so grateful for it!”
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I would like to thank the team at Operation New hope, you all are amazing. It is not easy dealing with all the different lives that come through your doors. Know that God has given you grace for it! 25 years, & over 12,000 clients and going strong is a testament of what you are doing.”
Charlotte now serves on Operation New Hope’s Board of Directors and is dedicated to supporting our mission as we continue to expand to serve more and meet the critical needs of 600,000+ returning from Florida’s jails and prisons every year.   

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!

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