Trading bad company for good

Jerrica got into trouble by hanging out with the wrong people, kids who were using drugs and stealing. “I wasn’t doing anything,” she admits. “I was bored.” Retail theft and probation violation led to jail where she served three months. There she was referred to the Beth Shalom House of Peace and has been living here since January with her 3 year old daughter Skyler.

“I was interested in Beth Shalom’s program and that I would be reunited with Skyler,” says Jerrica. “I attend In the Light Ministries church on Sundays with the other Beth Shalom women. I like the pastor. His messages really touch me. There was one about God putting interruptions in your life … it’s like a test to overcome. I attend Bible study and life skills classes.”

This is new for her she says. “When I was little I sometimes went to church with my grandmother … but I was never this involved. I like the Bible study and the life skills classes are always different. Once a guy talked about poems and we wrote ‘I remember when’ for a full minute everything we could remember from when we were little. Another was about identity theft.

“My goals now are to get a job to support me and my daughter … and to stay drug free. My tasks are job searching and drug testing. I have a CNA [Certified Nurses Assistant] license and I like the work.

“Lenara [program coordinator] encourages me. She pushes me to do the right thing. She prays with me … I pray for God to guide me down the right path, to look for a job, to look after Skyler and for other people … and I feel like God is right there when I pray with Lenara.”

“Jerrica came to us through the Re-entry Management Organization (RMO),” explains Lenara. “She was very sick for about three weeks in the beginning which caused her to miss some appointments and lose some benefits of the program. But she continued to go to the library to search for a job and has had job interviews. She is now attending Career Link to help with her job search.

Jerrica has been a blessing to the program. In the midst of her frustration she remained positive and stayed focused. And she’s a very, very good mother.”

Lenara continues, “It’s always a struggle when someone is new to the program. They don’t know if they are going back to their old life or toward something different. Jerrica is embracing something new. She’s doing really well.”

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Jerrica has since graduated from the Beth Shalom program.

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