“If there is one thing I have learned from this process is how to adjust and move on in stride.”
I was released from prison June 18, 2019 after serving a sentence of 21 years! For me survival was tough. I was picked up by the program director Jaqueline White. Life seemed like it was going to be a piece of cake in my eyes. My thoughts were always get out, get a job, save money and buy a house and life would be good because I would be living life and not just existing. Boy, what thoughts can do? Who am I? I had no clue of who I was and had to do a lot of work to place myself back into society. I called my family to get my birth certificate, social security card and supposedly medi-cal was established before I left prison. And none of this was possible or taken care of. So who was I?
Crossroads staff and a host of volunteers showed me how to do it for myself without getting discouraged. Oh technology these days. I ordered my birth certificate online, got my ID from the DMV and went to social services to get my medi-cal started. Now I was becoming somebody and regaining my self-esteem, reality was setting in because I wasn’t just a number anymore.
Now that I can be called by my name and have a place to call home I felt loved for the first time in a long time, something that was completely foreign to me. After 3 months of being in the program I got my identity back as well as a stable job. It felt wonderful getting up every day to go to my job and serve the senior citizens who come for a warm lunch and some much needed friendly conversation.
Then one day I walked into work to find out my services were no longer needed because of Covid 19. This virus has not just put a stumbling block in my way but all over the world people are suffering. A lot of changes have taken place between the time I got out of prison and the outbreak of this virus which has thrown me back into survival mode but not fear nor panic. If there is one thing I have learned from this process is how to adjust and move on in stride.
Now I have to learn patience, unity and how not to fear the unknown. Because of this quarantine I am now more connected to my family and friends due to the advancement of technology. I get to continue with school on-line which is a plus which helps me continue to grow as a new and skillful women. Because of the women who came before me I am able to provide my skills of service to the new women as they arrive to the program after being released from prison. I will give them love, support and the loving arms of family as they need it as well as help them cook and become a wholesome young women of the community.
I will not let this virus take my self-esteem or self-worth. I have to say my Crossroads family has given me the strength to handle the situation we are currently in. Thank you for your support and love for it is greatly appreciated.
“I may not be able to do all the things I had in mind when I first got released but I have a great environment to grow as a successful human being as long as I use my tools in a proper manner.”
On February 18, 2020 I was released from prison and came to Crossroads to begin my program. I longed to see my family so I was granted permission to see my daughter the second Thursday after arriving at the house which was a blessing. As time went on I started working the program everyday which started with a 7:00 AA meeting in the morning and afterwards meetings at the office which included Anger Management, Job Retention, Computer Training as well as Anger & Grief.
Slowly but surely the news and the radio started talking about the effects of Covid-19 in China and across the globe. So many people were losing their livelihoods and sense of well-being due to this disease at a rampant rate, so they put an order in affect that says we should stay in the house and wear mask when we go out and practice social distancing to cut down on the spread of the disease.
This meant no visits either in or out which put a damper on many of our moods. Now we do two groups in the morning with our regular staff because all of the volunteers are busy protecting themselves from this virus. Which puts Sister Terry & Ms. Jackie in the position to teach our groups.
Even though I can’t see my family like I want to I am able to talk to them on the phone as well as connect through the use of the internet. We have just started going back to our therapy sessions which is good because it gives us an outlet to express our feelings which are otherwise bottled up.
I may not be able to do all the things I had in mind when I first got released but I have a great environment to grow as a successful human being as long as I use my tools in a proper manner.
Before being released from prison, I had certain expectations, and goals that I set for myself. Upon arrival at the program I found out that many things have changed due to the COVID crisis. Which means that all the incentives I would have earned or enjoyed, were now put on hold until further notice.
Those incentives that consisted of me being allowed family visits, cell phone, travel passes and finding a job have all been put on hold. These small, and maybe insignificant things, were something I looked forward to for a very long time.
Although disappointing, I choose to stay positive and look for other ways to achieve my goals. I have modified my program to follow rules as well as the stay at home order. Thank God for technology and the internet. It allows me to stay connected, regardless of the COVID 19. I am able to connect with family, friends, and educational programs so that I do not fall behind.
What a blessing. I am so grateful to my God Jesus Christ, and my new family at Crossroads. They are a huge help for my sanity, and peace of mind.
Crossroads offers various groups and activities to help everyone cope through these difficult times. Every time I think of complaining, I remember the homeless and starving people who have nothing. I pray that they find food and shelter to survive through this crisis that has swept through our nation and the whole world. Let this crisis be a lesson to us all. May God bless us all.