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Success Story: 42-Year Old Mother and Student

42-Year old mother, full-time employee, straight "A" 3.78 GPA Student:

I was born March 12th 1970 in Puyallup WA.  My mother was a detective, a fraud investigator with major problems. She suffered from Münchausen by Proxy, a very secretive disease. Back in 1970 there was not really a name for the disease and I was the recipient of my mom’s illness.  I was sick or injured for a lot of my childhood and I ran away on my 12th birthday and never went back.

I ran the streets and started using then selling drugs.  I found “love” in the drugs as well as a new family I acquired on the streets. I was a “throw away” kid and I was lost. I went to Nevada at the age of 21 and began working in a Brothel.  I was still using drugs and alcohol to stay numb and my life was spiraling down fast.  I got pregnant at the age of 26 and my daughter was born. I had quit working in the brothel and had moved to Idaho where my daughter was born and I continued in the lifestyle of drugs, abusive relationships, and criminal activity. I was arrested in Idaho for fraud and moved back to Washington State. I was arrested several times for driving offenses, drugs and forgery and finally lost custody of my daughter when she was 4 years old.  She was removed from my custody and I lost parental rights. She was placed with my Aunt and Uncle.  I felt as if I was wronged and took to major criminal activity with the drug scene and the fraudulent lifestyle.  I was an angry person that felt life had been unfair and I was owed.  I was arrested for 22 counts of forgery and plead out to 9 counts and was sentenced to 43 months in 2002.  I spent most of my time at the Pine Lodge Correction Center for Women where I earned my G.E.D.  I was in and out of segregation due to fighting and disruptive behavior and I made my time hard. I released to Spokane and I thought a geographical change would fix my problems, I started attending community college at Spokane Falls, I was sober and I was free. I was not, however, any better.  I still felt as if the world owed me and blamed all of my problems on the abuse I suffered at the hands of my mother and her many boyfriends.  While at Spokane Falls, I met a guy that had the same love of Meth that I did.  I quit school and we began our run on the drug scene again.  I got pregnant again and when my son died I went crazy with shooting drugs, smoking drugs and committing fraud in 2 states at the same time.  I was a fugitive in Washington and in Idaho.  It was 11 days after my son died that I was arrested.  If I was to actually serve the time I deserved, I would have been incarcerated for a lot more time than I actually received.

I was arrested in Idaho for Possession of Meth and I had warrants out of Washington. I was facing 7 years in Idaho and Washington wanted me after I served my time.  I was in the “God Pod” at the Kootenai County Jail in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho awaiting for trial when I met Pastor Tim Remmington who is the founder of the Good Samaritan Faith Based Treatment Ranch.  I did not believe in any God or anything else for that matter.  I started fights when the girls I was celled up with tried to “convert” me or preach the word of God.  The Pastor kept coming to visit me and finally I agreed to go into his program, it was a way to get out of jail and I wanted out.  He went to the courts in both Idaho and Washington to ask for my release into his program and both states agreed on the condition I would return to serve out my sentence first in Washington and then in Idaho.  It was a miracle that both states agreed.  By this time I knew I needed something different in my life and his treatment program was life changing.  I graduated and returned to Washington ready to serve my time. I was sentenced to 57 months.  Idaho ran my time concurrent and upon arriving at WCCW I enrolled in school, as well as several other classes.  No fights and no segregation.  I wanted to change.  I began classes in the Horticulture Program and after I graduated I became the T.A. I also participated in the Kairos event where we learned more about God and healed past hurts.  I became the Kairos Inside Leader and then I met Kim Bogucki of the “IF” project.  Kim is a Seattle detective and when she started the “IF” project I was hesitant because Kim was a cop, like my mom and I did not trust her.  The project posed a question to us who were incarcerated, “If there was something that someone could have said or done to change the path that brought you to prison, what would that have been?”  The answers involved a lot of thought and it took writing out our life stories.  Kim took our stories and made a documentary to share with at-risk youth and hopefully stop the cycle of young people from coming to prison.  I had found my purpose, my passion for change and my future.  I jumped in.  I became the President of the Toastmasters Speaking Club and earned several awards and spoke at several events at that prison.  I involved myself in every class that was offered as well as participating in the Women’s Village empowering the women to look outside of the circumstances of the wired fenced-in walls and our past.  I’ve taken responsibility for my choices and stopped blaming my life on everyone else.  I knew I wanted to go back and finish my A.A. degree in CD counseling.  I now believe that people can and do change.

I am currently at the Helen B. Radcliff Work Release facility and I have applied to and have been accepted to Seattle Central Community College.  I also am employed at Sideline Sports. My bosses are very supportive of my returning to school and are working around my studies.  I have the support from the Post-Prison Education Program as well as Financial Aid where I have enrolled in the Chemical Dependency Program to finish my A.A. Degree and then my Bachelor’s Degree.  I want to work with people coming out of prison as well as the at risk youth in the “IF” project.  I want to advocate to the people coming out of prison that an education as well as a belief in something is the foundation for us to succeed. I am a changed person due to the trials of my life and I am confident in myself that my life has really just begun.  I will never forget where I have been but I will not lose sight of my purpose.  I have been reunited with my daughter after 11 years of no contact and I am in the process of making amends with the rest of my family.  I once believed that a “throw away” kid such as myself would overdose and die as a statistic.  I now know that there is a bigger plan for me.  I am excited and ready to further my education and though I do realize I can’t change the world in a day, I do believe in change.