This is not the road I’m supposed to be on. For years I thought I was on the road less traveled: the road of self-discovery and non-conformity. But even those with lofty goals are subject to the harsh realities of the world. To the tragedies and misfortune that cross all our paths. And when true suffering, like the suffering of a mother battling breast cancer and then leukemia, true suffering rears its ugly head. That is when all the good I’d done seemed worthless and useless because it couldn’t save her.

After such a tragedy, my story became identical to that of millions of others: the story of addiction. My life took a detour down a road many had stumbled down before me, including members of my own family. As they say in The Program, the path of addiction always ends the same; Jails, Institutions and Death. So, I found myself in prison thinking, “This isn’t the road I’m supposed to be on. I can’t believe this is it for me.” All I could foresee for myself was a life as a felon. That life could only mean more struggling, could only mean more suffering.

I was not quite ready to give up completely yet. I heard talk of this “Career PATHS” program from Televerde Foundation. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I signed up. At the very least I thought I would be able to get more information about what companies are open to hiring felons.

On the first day of Career PATHS class, Michelle Cirocco shared her story with us and planted a new seed in my mind. I gained hope that there is opportunity and a worthwhile life after prison. I do not have to lower my expectations for a fulfilling life after prison. The same week we listened to a panel discussion of women who had graduated from Televerde. These women had been exactly where I am, made it to the other side and are living amazing lives! I was blown away and filled with so much inspiration that I could barely sit still!

Not only is it possible to have an amazing life after leaving prison, but Career PATHS is also giving me the personal and professional tools I need to be successful. Now, only a month into this program, I believe with all my heart and soul that this is ABSOLUTELY the road I’m supposed to be on, and I can’t wait to see what my future holds!

 

If you’re interested in sponsoring a woman or a cohort of women through this program, please go to: https://televerdefoundation.org/take-action/