Seventeen and a half years. A sentence that echoed around the four walls of my world. I felt lost in the vast ocean of my sentence. Society had told me that my past was all that defined me, that my only worth was the mistakes I made. They were wrong, and it took the tiny hands of my son, after 15 long months apart, to open my eyes to that truth.
The moment I locked eyes with my son on the day of my sentencing, something stirred within me. I made a promise, a pledge to him and to myself, that I would metamorphose into someone he could be proud of.
When I first stepped foot in Rockville Correctional Facility in 2017, all I had was regret, a heart filled with guilt, and the label of a “felon” that felt heavier than the chains around my wrists. Coming to Rockville, I thought my future was etched in stone: bleak and without opportunities. But I focused on my son and the promise I made to him. I didn’t know the path I’d tread, but I was resolute: every decision henceforth would work towards that goal.
My journey of transformation started with The Last Mile (TLM), a program that was nothing short of a lifeline. Initially, I thought TLM was about medical billing and coding, a field I’d always admired. Instead, I discovered it was about developing skills to build websites and software applications – an intriguing field that resonated with my budding interest in blogging and the ever-growing tech world. My determination helped me rise to the top of my class and turned a fearful prisoner into a confident, driven, and ambitious woman.
While working as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for TLM, I found another beacon of hope: Televerde, a sales and marketing company that specializes in inside sales, demand generation, and inbound customer support. As much as I loved my job as a TA, I yearned for financial independence. The thought of being self-reliant was appealing; it was a strong call to regain control of my life. Televerde, with its opportunity to work and save money, turned this longing into a reality.
My journey at Televerde began as a struggle to achieve financial independence (it’s the highest-paying job in the prison), and it has evolved into a platform where I now grow as a website specialist and developer, doing what I love and applying the skills I learned through TLM in a business context. Televerde has not just empowered me financially but has also shown me the beauty of a supportive community and the endless opportunities that come with it. I’m building a career in business…from behind bars!
This professional growth has breathed life into my personal relationships as well. The confidence that TLM and Televerde gifted me reflects in my conversations with my son and family. They see the strength in me, the change, and the assurance of a brighter future. I know, without a doubt, that I will continue to grow as a developer, and more importantly, as a person. My analytical mind is always ready for a challenge, constantly learning new things and solving puzzles in web development.
Rehabilitation programs like Televerde and The Last Mile are an oasis in the desert of confinement. They not only equip us with professional skills but also foster self-confidence and provide hope for a better future. The community they build continues to support and encourage us, even after we step out of the prison walls. They have given me the tools and resources to change my narrative, reduce the chances of recidivism, and above all, they have given me a sense of purpose. I am no longer just a felon. I am a web developer, a mother, and a proud woman rediscovering her worth, and working tirelessly towards a brighter future for herself and her family.
As I continue to optimize websites, learn more about SEO and Google Analytics, and prepare myself for the world outside, I carry with me the lessons and the confidence these programs instilled in me.
Incarceration may seem like an end, but with the right support, it can also be a new beginning. It has been for me. And that’s the narrative I believe in now – a narrative of redemption, growth, and unending potential.
I invite you to follow my journey, on LinkedIn, as I share with you my growth, milestones, and challenges in the continued development of my career. I’ll share monthly blogs and daily posts. I hope my experience and journey of transformation pull back the curtain on prison and incarceration, revealing the talent and potential behind these walls. Believe me, I am one of many.