I didn’t have such a great childhood. Both my parents were addicts. My mother was actually here at Rockville. My dad was deep into his addiction and allowed me to quit school in fifth grade. I was basically out there with no guidance at all. And I had to fend for myself to eat. So I turned to using and selling drugs as a child.

Before I got to prison, I lost myself tremendously. A part of my upbringing was I grew up in church. I grew up believing in God. Along the way, getting involved with bad influences caused me to lose sight of myself and my worth.

My ex-stepfather molested me as a child and he was removed from my life by my choice when I ran away at 18 and I moved to Arizona to get out of that situation.

My son just recently told me, ‘You have no idea how proud I am of you and how much I look up to you.’ Coming from a kid that I didn’t raise. I saw him the last time when he was 4 years old and I’m sitting in prison.

I don’t think that it hit me until I called my mom. I could hear her sobbing. That’s when I realized what was going on. That I realized I was going away, and I didn’t know when I’d see her again. I was alone on the longest, most scary journey of my life.

You come in and you’re scared, you’re broken, you’re lost, you’re confused. You’re just hopeless. You don’t really know what’s going to come out of it. If anything good. You don’t expect anything good to come out of it.

I am a product of generational incarceration and addiction. Growing up, my mom was either in prison or actively battling addiction on the streets. I never got to know her as a person until I got older. I was raised by my dad who was also actively battling addiction and he was very abusive.

I have an addiction to methamphetamine. I spent 12 years in an abusive relationship. I was a single parent. When I went to prison the first time, my daughter was 3 and my son was 15 months.

I think I had so much shame that I wasn’t…I wasn’t able to allow them (my family) to help me. I kept running from them. So, there was a lot of relief for them when I went to Perryville because they knew at least I would be safe there.

Before everything took place, the way my life was leading I did ask God – I looked up to him and I was just like – I don’t like where my life is. I need help. Never thought it would lead me to prison.

My life before my incarceration was an up and down roller coaster. I had a mother who was in and out of prison my whole life and was a drug addict. I had a father who had to fight years to get custody of me and wasn’t able to obtain it until I was in high school. By then I already had a tainted perception of life.

My childhood there was a lot of physical, verbal, and emotional abuse that led me to believe that I wasn’t worth too much. Began a cycle of addiction at 14. Started using heroin. Used it for 28 years, cycling in and out of the department of corrections. I basically pleaded life on the installment plan.

As far as professionally, because of what I’ve learned at Televerde and because of the support I have at Televerde, the sky is the limit for me.

Televerde not only wants to be able to help incarcerated women and show them a different way of life by offering us job skills, they also hold us true to always doing the right thing and clearly I wasn’t at the time so I had to receive the consequences of being let go from Televerde.

Tina [my manager] texted me and said, ‘Welcome to the family.’ Family? That sounded cool. You hear this kind of cliché stuff and think alright, whatever. But I called her and we talked for a half hour. I was in tears. I just knew something was starting that was going to be big. I felt it in my heart.

Welcome to The Televerde Virtual Roundtable

We invite you to watch this series of first-person video narratives by the women who partner with us.