"I could have gone on living with my mom---she would have been glad for me to stay with her---but I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to live out on the street either. And the only other place I could think of was jail. I knew that in jail I would at least have 3 meals a day and a roof over my head. Looking back, it seems stupid, but that’s the reason I did what I did. I didn't see any other options. I committed armed robbery, then aggravated robbery, and served a total of 15 years in state prison. I was out for less than three months when I robbed a bank and went to federal prison for 11 years. Again, it wasn't that I wanted to be a criminal, but I just felt hopeless and sad all the time and didn't know how else to keep from having to live on the streets.
"In August of 2015, I was released. I hadn’t gotten help, but I felt like I was pretty much over my personal problems and that I was ready to start living life. I went from prison to a halfway house, and the job coordinator referred me to a career-readiness program [HopeWorks]. They helped me find a job in the food and beverage industry, which is what I wanted. On November 9, I will have been there a year. I’m living with my mom now, which is what I should have been doing before, and I’m doing great. I enjoy every day. The sadness I used to feel all the time is gone now, but if it comes back, I know now that help is available. I received my driver’s license on August 17 of this year and I just bought my first car.
"During the time all this was happening, I spent a few nights out on the streets. I prayed then that the Lord would see me through. He was the only person who was there for me, the only one I could talk to. He was the only one who I knew understood me, no matter what happened, good or bad, and that’s why I love him so much now. My life was saved, so I want to give back and save somebody else. If my story helps even one person, I’m proud to tell it."
For information about depression, click HERE or HERE.