Most Significant Accomplishment:
My greatest accomplishment is graduating with a degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Human Services. When I became a parent, my main priority was the care of my children. I wanted to ensure they advanced in their endeavors throughout their school years and after. I put furthering my education on the back burner. I wanted to complete my post-secondary education. My delay was not a personal denial, and the lesson for me is that so many women, as primary caregivers of the family, will delay their ventures. I obtained my degree while working full-time and providing direct reentry and workforce development services to incarcerated men and women.
I was appointed as the Executive Director of Social Work and Reentry Services for the State Government during my final year of college. As a more seasoned adult, I proudly walked across the stage and felt a sense of accomplishment. I am a reentry expert who provides exceptional services, but now, I have the credentials needed to serve in the criminal justice reentry/reintegration space. Not only did I graduate, but I was also Magna Cumme Laude with a 3.87 GPA.
Example of Mentoring:
One example that I am proud of is mentoring one of my returning citizens. I met her when she first entered the system as a 17-year-old. I encouraged her to get her GED. She graduated as valedictorian and was eventually released when she was 19 years old. We remained in contact, and I continued to coach/mentor her through her personal and professional reintegration process, which can be challenging for returning citizens.
She became employed, and a year later, she had her own apartment. She has diligently worked on having healthy relationships with her family and peers. We are still in touch, and she is now working on becoming a certified home healthcare aide. What makes this so unique is how I came to do this type of work. I was an indirect victim of a violent crime; two armed robbers shot and killed my grandfather. I was a teenager, and I had to testify about what I saw and heard that early morning. The blessing is that I am now focused on helping and mentoring justice-impacted individuals pre-and post-release to return home better than when they went in.
Most Significant Personal Accomplishment:
In 2019, I was blessed with the opportunity to become a published author. The book was an anthology I shared with nine other women called “Why My Mom.” Being transparent about my personal life was not something I was comfortable with before this project. However, the relief and healing from writing my chapter changed my life forever. I am now encouraging other women to tell their stories and experience healing.
This is an honoree profile from The Daily Record's Top 100 Women awards. Information for this profile was sourced from the honoree's application for the award.