"I’ve been in and out of jail since I was 16, usually after a break up. I’ve always tried to please others and be accepted, but when I lost everything I had worked for, I turned to drugs and struggled with depression. A lot of my family have been in and out of jail too, so that’s what I grew up with.
I dated the mother of my child for eight years, but after my son was born, she left and I went back to drugs. The last time I was in jail, my social worker suggested Hope House because she didn’t think drugs were my real problem, I needed to find my purpose in life. I’ve been in the program 3 months and 4 days.
I’ve learned that I can’t do this on my own, and I can’t try to find myself in other people anymore. They won’t always be there, but God will. I grew up in church and was baptized, but I was always half and half. I was the type of person who only believed in death. Looking outside, who created all of this, there’s got to be a higher power than myself.
I’m looking forward to reconnecting with my family, and maybe not only changing myself but helping them change too. Before, my son was used against me and I didn’t see him much, but now, I get to see him almost every week. I want to build a relationship with him and make sure he doesn’t make the same mistakes as me."
"I had been in abusive relationships since I was 20 years old, which made me feel like I didn’t have any self worth. I had no confidence at all, so I always ran to drugs to make me feel better and give me confidence. I’ve been clean for 13 years, but I still hated life. I felt like everyone was against me, and the only reason I woke up in the morning was because of my kid.
I was working temp jobs that weren’t getting me anywhere. When I went to the KTAP office, they told me there was a new position at Hope House, so I asked if they could place me there. I had been to Hope House before for food assistance and to shop in the Community Store, but I was nervous because I wasn’t open to everyone knowing the real me.
I wanted to join Jobs for Life because I thought it would help me work with other people and learn how to deal with conflict. I learned that no matter how much I struggle in life, I might have to work hard, but I should never give up. Like Ruth’s story in the Bible, she didn’t give up and fought for what she believed in.
I got to know the real God through Jobs for Life and that he has a purpose for all of us. I used to question God, but now I know I’m here for a reason. Since I graduated, I’m happier, more confident, and I don’t feel out of control like I used to. I have a full-time job now, and I’ll be able to take my son on vacation next year for the first time."
"I found out that the woman I had been dating for five years and had a kid with cheated on me, and I handled it the wrong way. I didn’t care anymore, so I started stealing, got on drugs really bad, had a don’t-care attitude. I ended up getting in a lot of trouble, and I caught a lot of drug charges.
My friend in jail told me about Program Living. I kept doing the same things over and over then coming back to jail, and I just wanted something with structure. I was tired of getting sent to places with no structure or guidance, where it was easier to get drugs in rehab than it was outside. I knew Hope House would be better for me, since it’s a Christian program.
I’ve been in the program almost five months, and it’s been a journey for me in the short time I’ve been here. It's taken some real prayer. I have learned that I don’t need to beat myself up over things I couldn't control, that I have worth, and I am somebody. I’ve talked with Justin so much about what’s happened in my life, and my friend from Texas came all the way here to see me; it means a lot knowing I have people who fully support me.
After I graduate, I can’t wait to have stability, a good job, a car, and to take care of my daughter. I’m doing this for myself too, but it’s mainly for my daughter. She needs a good dad, someone she can rely on."
“I’ve been clean since November 15, 2007, and when I got out of prison, we decided that he had to stop drinking to help us both. He’s been sober since October 25, 2017. We found Hope House because we were looking for help with our electric bill, and that’s when I signed up for Jobs for Life.
He decided to ride with me and sit in on the class, and before it was over, he was signed up too. We realized we needed to be around positive people working toward the same goals to help us grow in our faith. Our classmates were going through difficult things too, and we could talk about it in the class. We could see we weren’t alone, and it was amazing to hear how the Bible could be applied to our lives today, not just read like a history book.
After graduation, I was trying to find work through the Goodwill SCSEP program, but I couldn’t be placed in Simpson County because of my felony. I’m so glad that we found Hope House. There’s not a whole lot that Harold can do because of his disability, so being able to just hang clothes here gives him purpose and independence.”
Harold added, “We know that it’s God who has always provided for us when we’ve been in need, whether it’s an extra job or this program. Jobs for Life gives you hope and encouragement, something you can go on. It gives you the strength just to try.”